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Open AccessArticle

Tracing the Landscape: Re-Enchantment, Play, and Spirituality in Parkour

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Sheridan College, Oakville, ON L6H 2L1, Canada
Religions 2019, 10(9), 505;
Received: 2 August 2019 / Revised: 25 August 2019 / Accepted: 26 August 2019 / Published: 28 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sport, Spirituality, and Religion: New Intersections)
Parkour, along with “free-running”, is a relatively new but increasingly ubiquitous sport with possibilities for new configurations of ecology and spirituality in global urban contexts. Parkour differs significantly from traditional sports in its use of existing urban topography including walls, fences, and rooftops as an obstacle course/playground to be creatively navigated. Both parkour and “free-running”, in their haptic, intuitive exploration of the environment retrieve an enchanted notion of place with analogues in the religious language of pilgrimage. The parkour practitioner or traceur/traceuse exemplifies what Michael Atkinson terms “human reclamation”—a reclaiming of the body in space, and of the urban environment itself—which can be seen as a form of playful, creative spirituality based on “aligning the mind, body, and spirit within the environmental spaces at hand”. This study will subsequently examine parkour at the intersection of spirituality, phenomenology, and ecology in three ways: (1) As a returning of sport to a more “enchanted” ecological consciousness through poeisis and touch; (2) a recovery of the lost “play-element” in sport (Huizinga); and (3) a recovery of the human body attuned to our evolutionary past. View Full-Text
Keywords: parkour; free-running; religion; pilgrimage; poiesis; ecology; urban parkour; free-running; religion; pilgrimage; poiesis; ecology; urban
MDPI and ACS Style

Potter, B.D. Tracing the Landscape: Re-Enchantment, Play, and Spirituality in Parkour. Religions 2019, 10, 505.

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