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A theorised history of skateboarding, with particular reference to the ideas of Henri Lefebvre

Borden, IM; (1999) A theorised history of skateboarding, with particular reference to the ideas of Henri Lefebvre. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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This thesis is a theorised history of skateboarding. It aims to make a contribution to the methodology of architectural and urban history, positing a general conception that architecture and the city are best understood neither as objects nor as the sole province of architects and urban managers, but bet¬ter as flows of time and space produced through particular social activities. The first part is theoretical, and investigates the need for a re-consideration of space, principally through an investigation of the writings of Edward Soja (Chapter 2) and Henri Lefebvre (Chapter 3). lime, space and social being are found to be inter¬dependent constituents of social processes, and ¬together with ideas concerning the political objec¬tives of the author, the body, everyday life, architec¬ture and activities - necessary subjects for historical writing about architecture and the city. The second part undertakes a detailed study of a specific urban practice - that of skateboarding ¬with particular reference to the USA and UK. The ideas of Henri Lefebvre in particular are used to provide methodological direction and interpretive tools. Chapter 4, focused mainly on the late 1950s through to the mid 1970s, explores themes of tech¬nology, emulation of surfing and initial appropria¬tions and colonisations of space by skateboarding. Chapter 5 explores the constructed spaCe of the purpose built skateparks of the 1970s and the ramps of the 1980s, and also the body space of skateboarders and their engagement with these ter¬rains. Considerations of representation and the lived nature of images are also introduced. Chapter 6 explores the subculture of skateboarding. Themes of gender, race, class, age, sexuality and the family are investigated with reference to the clothes, board design, music, language and other cultural aspects of skateboarding. Chapter 7, focusing on the street-style skateboarding of the 1980s and 1990s, explores skateboarding as a critique of architecture, the city, capitalism and socio-spatial censorship. The performative nature of skateboarding as an urban activity is found to be an essential part of its historical importance. Chaper 8 provides a summary conclusion of the thesis, and also suggests some tentative directions of future work regarding the fur¬ther development of a materialist history of the experience of architecture.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: A theorised history of skateboarding, with particular reference to the ideas of Henri Lefebvre
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10121656
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