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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://bura.brunel.ac.uk/handle/2438/6119

Title: Ciné Parkour: A cinematic and theoretical contribution to the understanding of the practice of parkour
Authors: Angel, Julie Margaret
Advisors: Lebow, A
Keywords: Sports anthropology
Documentary filmaking
Participant observation
Freerunning
Edgework
Publication Date: 2011
Publisher: Brunel University School of Arts PhD Theses
Abstract: Through a meeting of practice and theory this thesis shifts the locus of attention from the spectacle to the everyday practice of parkour. Using documentary filmmaking with anthropological intentions and extended access over a six year period, this thesis explores the subjective everyday lived performances and essence of parkour, as experienced by a select group of experienced practitioners, as well as those who were involved in parkour’s creation and development. Parkour is a multidimensional phenomenon that can be experienced as an art, training discipline, sport, set of values, and practice of freedom, depending on an individual’s motivations, cultural understanding and exposure to the history of the practice. The research establishes that parkour is an imaginative and particular way of thinking; remapping the landscape with ‘parkour vision’. Parkour transforms how one experiences, moves, connects and participates in the environment, challenging notions of normative behaviour, socialisation, identity and self-determining actions through explorations of, as well as expressions of the self. The results of which are a means to find a more authentic deeper inner sense of self, producing feelings of inclusion and an enhanced sense of freedom through the creation of an autonomous social body. Parkour encourages self-reliance and mutual co-operation whilst enabling participants to reclaim the wonderment and magic of the human experience, valuing confrontations of fear, pleasure and pain in transcending the real and imagined boundaries of one’s own limitations, play and freedom of expression. This thesis explores themes such as shared cinema, collaborative filmmaking, participant observation and issues of representation. Parkour is discussed theoretically from the perspectives of Eichberg’s work on body cultures, Foucauldian relations of power and technologies of the self, alongside Merleau Ponty’s phenomenology, Csikszentmihalyi’s optimal flow experience, Wellmann’s insights into networked individualism and Charles Taylor’s work on the search for an authentic self and the complexities of a modern identity. This thesis contributes to the growing field of research into body cultures and the continually evolving culture of parkour.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and awarded by Brunel University.
URI: http://bura.brunel.ac.uk/handle/2438/6119
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