Street Skateboarding and the Aesthetic Order of Public Spaces

Dickinson, Sharon; Millie, Andrew and Peters, Eleanor (2022). Street Skateboarding and the Aesthetic Order of Public Spaces. The British Journal of Criminology, 62(6) pp. 1454–1469.



Street skateboarders are often excluded from public spaces with skating viewed as anti-social or uncivil. In this article, we argue that it can also be regarded as problematic as it interferes with the look and feel of cities as promoted by late-modern capitalism. The article contributes to an aesthetic criminology by arguing that street skateboarding is itself an aesthetic practice, but that this practice challenges the functionality and aesthetic order of the city. The article is supported by evidence from interviews with skateboarders in Manchester, UK. The context is the duel position of skateboarding, being regarded as both deviant and serious leisure (for instance, featuring for the first time in the Olympics in 2021). Rather than criminalizing and excluding skateboarders, it is argued that their aesthetic appreciation of public spaces could add value to city life, that they see and feel the city in ways that ought to add to our emotional and affective appreciation of what it means to live in a city.

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