The 'Parkour Organisation': inhabitation of corporate spaces

Daskalaki, Maria, Stara, Alexandra and Imas, Miguel (2008) The 'Parkour Organisation': inhabitation of corporate spaces. Culture and Organization, 14(1), pp. 49-64. ISSN (print) 1475-9551


This paper discusses the corporate city and the way it structures the experience of its inhabitants. The corporate city is seen here as the embodiment of power relationships of a distinctly postmodern nature, a means to preserve and promote hegemonic and homogenising discourses like globalisation and consumerism. Corporate design and architecture embody specific kinds of relationships, experiences and perceptions of space and place. We will suggest that the corporate city is homogenised, lacking richness of civic space, not just in terms of form but in terms of structures (both, spatial structures and the kind of social structures/interactions they invite/encourage). The activities of a group of traceurs practicing parkour are described and their philosophy is explained as a resistance to corporate structures. Richness of experience, strengthening of community, variety of activity, openness and possibility are irrelevant (actually, inimical) to the corporate forces that shape our cities today. However, as the experience of Le parkour demonstrates, extreme artforms of ‘urban activism’ but also, more importantly, human agency and the performativity of the everyday, are capable of transforming the otherwise alienating non-places, to grounds of possibility, creativity and civic identity.

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