Playing Towards Contact
: Doing Parkour, Bike Trials & Capoeira

  • Stephen John Saville

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis considers the changing ways in which we make contact with the places we inhabit. Taking a lead from long term immersive participation in the practices of parkour, bike trials and capoeira, it examines how embodiment and perceptions are wrought. Mixing these practices with recent theoretical advances in human geography, sometimes termed non-representational theory, I argue that such modifications are made through playful re-negotiations with place. The thesis explores this playful and
paradoxical process and the emotional engagements that occur within it. These activities necessarily lead to a new quality of contact with place.
The thesis argues for playful participatory engagements with the world. It suggests that moves toward such engagements can learn a lot from activities like parkour, bike trials and capoeira.
Date of Award2009
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SponsorsEconomic and Social Research Council
SupervisorPeter Merriman (Supervisor) & Gareth Hoskins (Supervisor)


  • play
  • theory
  • parkour
  • freerunning
  • bike
  • trials
  • capoeira
  • non-representational theory
  • contact
  • practice
  • mobility

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