In this paper we consider the development of parkour in the South of England, and its use in public policy debates and initiatives around youth, physical activity, and risk. Based on in-depth qualitative interviews with participants and those involved in the development of parkour in education, sport policy, and community based partnerships, we explore the potential of parkour to engage communities, particularly those traditionally excluded from mainstream ‘sport’ and physical education provision. We discuss how the perceived ‘success’ of parkour in these different contexts is related to the culture and ethos of the activity that is more inclusive, anti-competitive, and less rule bound than most traditional sports; and to its ability to provide managed risk-taking. More broadly, the paper highlights and discusses the emergence of lifestyle sports as ‘tools’ for policy makers, and the potential role these non-traditional, non-institutionalised ‘lifestyle sports’ can make in terms of encouraging youth engagement, physical health and wellbeing. Our paper therefore contributes to on-going debates about the ability of traditional sports to meet government targets for sport and physical activity participation.
Editor's comments - [ Informal sports are increasingly central to the physical activity and cultural lifestyles of young people; indeed some argue they are becoming so central that they are beginning to replace traditional team sports and challenge the original sporting uses of playgrounds and urban parks (L'Aoustet & Griffet, 2001). L’Aoustet and Griffet claim that in France any observable increase in sport participation can be attributed to non-institutionalised informal sport activities, with surveys showing that 45-60% of the French population now practice informal sports. Similarly, in Germany, Bach (1993) discusses the intensification in demand for informal sport activities, recognising that a considerable part of ‘sports’ activity is not organised, nor conducted in official clubs, but is spontaneous in nature. ] Reference this?Gilcrest,P. Wheaton, B.. (2011). This page title in italics. Retrieved date, from <this page's full URL>
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Reference : Gilcrest, P. Wheaton B. (2011) Lifestyle sport, public policy and youth engagement: Examining the emergence of parkour. Brighton: Chelsea School.
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