Action & Adventure in the Northeast

Episode 8: Parkour and the City with Jeffrey Kidder

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My guest on this episode is Jeff Kidder, professor of sociology at Northern Illinois University. Jeff has a particular interest in how young city dwellers re-allocate the built environments of urban areas into places that offer the opportunity for adventure and excitement. Jeff previously studied the interactions of bicycle messengers with their surroundings, and now he dives into the lifestyle sport of Parkour, or Freerunning.

Jeff discusses the origin story of this relatively modern discipline, how it developed from a training method for French firefighters into an artistic expression for young men throughout western culture. He gets into why young males tend to gravitate toward Parkour more than females, which may seem odd given that traditional gymnastics is dominated by girls and young women.

We explore the relationship between the physical and virtual worlds amongst those who practice Parkour, and how one influences the other. We also discuss risk, lifestyle vs. team sports, and much more. If you are interested in Parkour or any lifestyle sport such as surfing, skateboarding, skydiving, or freeflight, then this episode is right up your alley.

Websites about Parkour

Books by Jeffrey Kidder

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