Publication Date

Summer 2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Ted M. Butryn


edgework, freerunning, Merleau-Ponty, parkour, phenomenology, risk

Subject Areas

Kinesiology; Philosophy


Recently, there has been growing interest among scholars in the concept of edgework to examine voluntary risk-taking behavior. Parkour is an emerging sport that finds a nexus between transgression, risk, and accessibility that may represent a unique form of edgework. Few scholars have examined sport as an edgework pursuit, and fewer still have attempted to portray the lived and embodied experiences of edgeworkers. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to expand sport and edgework research by qualitatively examining the lived, sporting experiences of parkour practitioners.

Phenomenological interviews were conducted with 11 (9 male, 2 female) intermediate-to-advanced traceurs (parkour practioners) ranging from 18 to 33 years old. Two dimensions emerged: bodily experience and interactive experience. Several supporting themes also emerged, including play, movement, and risk within the bodily experience dimension, and community, public, and world within the interactive experience dimension. The findings of this study provide new perspectives on the experiences and meanings associated with participating in parkour and freerunning.