Handrails, steps and curbs : sacred places and secular pilgrimage in skateboarding

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


This paper argues that significant places in the sport of skateboarding are banal urban spaces. These locations are made meaningful through interaction, history and media coverage. This has resulted in the emotional attachment and veneration of places that are overlooked by the general public. Building on cultural geography and the literature on pilgrimage, an analysis of sacred space and secular pilgrimage is presented. Skateboarders are shown to be deeply engaged with places that have been inscribed with historic meaning. Media is shown to be instrumental in making and communicating the importance of skateboarding ‘spots’. Through textual analysis and ethnographic work a distinction is made on the importance of space. Skateboarders are shown to perform secular pilgrimages, and to be emotionally invested in the history of particular sites. Skateboarding, unlike other sports, privileges places that are not legitimate sporting locations. The stadiums of skateboarders are urban settings, handrails, curbs and steps.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1651-1668
Number of pages18
JournalSport in Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics
Issue number11
Early online date17 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2018


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