Why Skateboarders Don’t Wear Helmets: Managing Risk at Hong Kong’s Public Skateparks

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Skateboarding has a global reach and has been shortlisted for inclusion in the 2020 Olympic Games. How can we make sense of the fact that this risky pursuit is commonly performed without helmets? This research looks at attitudes to helmet use by applying Lyng’s (1990) concept of edgework. It focuses on the introduction of a mandatory helmet rule in a skatepark in Hong Kong and contrasts the practices and opinions of users with content of skateboard media. It finds that choice and competence is an important component of attitudes to helmet use. It argues that the valorisation of skateboarding is part of a larger process of the confused neoliberal appropriation and sanitising of risk taking activities. Helmet use represents a swing between two poles, one of the anarchy of edgework, and one of conformity to the self-interests of neoliberalism.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2015
EventHong Kong Sociological Association 17th Annual Conference: Sociological Imagination in a Pluralist World 多元世界得社會學想像 - Hong Kong Shue Yan University, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Duration: 5 Dec 20155 Dec 2015


ConferenceHong Kong Sociological Association 17th Annual Conference
Country/TerritoryHong Kong
CityHong Kong
Internet address


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