Sport, discipline, or lifestyle: Identity, integrity, and change in the transnational Parkour community
Asha Ross (PhD Candidate, Asia Institute, The University of Melbourne)
In exploring parkour as a transnational social movement across the Asia-Pacific, I will be exploring the nature of identity and environment in connection with movement and body. Parkour in Japan is rising in popularity within the youth culture, but also experiencing obstacles of traditional perceptions of public space, gender roles, and behaviour. Investigating the role of parkour in Japan will provide an opportunity to explore the relationship between youth culture, physicality, and sense of identity in contemporary Japan. As the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games draw closer, another layer is added to this conversation amid discussions of the possible inclusion of parkour in the Olympics as a new sport. For many reasons, the Tokyo Olympic Games will be under scrutiny from the transnational parkour community. This event will highlight salient issues in the parkour community: the nature of parkour itself, and the role of play and competition in forming identity. The wider frame of this project is the relationship between body, mind, and environment and how this relationship influences individual and group agency. This paper proposes a discussion about the place of play in contemporary Japanese society, and the influence of transnational social movements on the changing nature of the Asia-Pacific.