From the street to the world: graffiti and parkour configurations and fields of urban possibilities

Based on a comparative ethnography on graffiti and parkour in Lisbon, Barcelona, New York, Paris and Rio de Janeiro this thesis aims to show how these practices are constructed both in a local level, the street, and in a global one, the world. The articulations between the two scales contribute to the emergence of different configurations of parkour and graffiti. The research spaces constitute distinct fields of urban possibilities made by different opportunities and constraints related to the practices’ history, the structure of the politics, culture and sports fields and to the actors’ biographical trajectories as well. The fields of urban possibilities interfere with the identity projects constructed in the different cities. The ethnographic field work gave shape to a synchronic approach simultaneously developed with a diachronic one, responding to the need of knowing the practices’ history in the given urban contexts. The research object required the construction of a flows’ ethnography in order to allow the analysis of the extreme mobility of this social actors in their cities but also in other points of the metropolitan, national and global maps. It was made a document analysis and a collection of information from the virtual world, where multiple social relations are established, concurring to the recreation of the mentioned practices’ configurations.


The thesis is available here in Portuguese.




Lígia Ferro