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‘We are rolling and vaulting tonight’: sport programmes, urban regeneration and the politics of parkour in Turin, Italy.

De Martini Ugolotti, N., 2017. ‘We are rolling and vaulting tonight’: sport programmes, urban regeneration and the politics of parkour in Turin, Italy. International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, 9 (1), 25-40.

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DOI: 10.1080/19406940.2016.1263234


The following paper aims to contribute to an interdisciplinary field of enquiry addressing the ways in which lifestyle and informal sports can inform policy debate and development at various levels. It will do so by considering the ambivalent position that parkour is taking within policies of urban and community re-branding enacted in Turin, Italy. Parkour in Turin is an increasingly structured discipline often endorsed by events celebrating the city’s vibrancy, and by local projects that target youth, and promote social participation. However, this discipline implies also a spontaneous and irreverent engagement with urban spaces that often creates frictions and conflicts between traceurs (parkour practitioners) and other actors in relation to what constitutes the public, how it should be used and by whom. Drawing on 14 months of ethnographic research with a group of 20 traceurs predominantly of migrant origins, this study focuses on the participants’ ambivalent engagement with one project promoting social participation through sports in Turin’s urban spaces. Building on the ethnographic material, this paper addresses the emerging relationship between social projects, informal urban practices and emerging forms of creative urbanism. The discussion focuses on the ambiguities and fault lines of urban agendas incorporating lifestyle and informal sports in their (neoliberal) vocabulary of community and place regeneration. However, this paper calls also for the necessity to engage with spontaneous, informal physical practices as a way to acknowledge, and support existing, contested negotiations of citizenship and belonging in urban spaces.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Youth; Parkour; Sport Policy; Urban Regeneration; Citizenship; Turin
Group:Bournemouth University Business School
ID Code:28022
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:20 Mar 2017 09:59
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:03


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