Parkour and street culture: conviviality, law, and the negotiation of urban space

Paul Gilchrist, Guy Osborn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterpeer-review


This chapter engages with a growing interest from urban sociology, criminology and critical legal studies with conviviality and negotiation in the shared use of public space. It reports on research that has investigated the flourishing and rapidly globalising parkour scene and highlights how a discourse of conviviality has been central to processes of legitimisation in the contest for an informal use of public space. The chapter throws an analytical spotlight on the work of urban sociability in the articulation of a social benefit to parkour practice in urban environments, which has been crucial to how practitioners have mobilised to contest charges that the activity is hedonistic, narcissistic, irrational, deviant, and risky, so underwriting claims to contested space. Countering approaches that focus on preventive exclusion and reassurance policing, we use Anna Barker’s (2017) ‘mediated conviviality’ as a tool that can foster a more inclusive response to parkour, a notion which is responsive to context and may help negotiate competing claims to public space through a reframing of responsible and self-regulated behaviours and the fostering of a culture of mutual tolerance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Street Culture
EditorsJeffrey Ian Ross
Place of PublicationAbingdon
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781000194999
ISBN (Print)9780367248734
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2020


  • Parkour
  • street culture
  • law
  • Urban Space
  • conviviality
  • lifestyle sport
  • legal geography

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