Handrails, steps and curbs : sacred places and secular pilgrimage in skateboarding
Sport in Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics
Advance online publication
This paper argues that significant places in the sport of skateboarding are banal urban spaces. These locations are made meaningful through interaction, history and media coverage. This has resulted in the emotional attachment and veneration of places that are overlooked by the general public. Building on cultural geography and the literature on pilgrimage, an analysis of sacred space and secular pilgrimage is presented. Skateboarders are shown to be deeply engaged with places that have been inscribed with historic meaning. Media is shown to be instrumental in making and communicating the importance of skateboarding ‘spots’. Through textual analysis and ethnographic work a distinction is made on the importance of space. Skateboarders are shown to perform secular pilgrimages, and to be emotionally invested in the history of particular sites. Skateboarding, unlike other sports, privileges places that are not legitimate sporting locations. The stadiums of skateboarders are urban settings, handrails, curbs and steps.
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O’Connor, P. (2017). Handrails, steps and curbs: Sacred places and secular pilgrimage in skateboarding. Sport in Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/17430437.2017.1390567