Youth and Alternative Sporting (Im)mobilities in Disrupted and Conflicted Spaces

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Holly Thorpe University of Waikato

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This article advocates the value of a mobilities approach to examining the lived experiences of youth in contexts of war, conflict, and disaster. With the aim of moving beyond “victim” narratives, it critically examines three cases of youth engagement in alternative sporting forms in post-earthquakes Christchurch and conflict-torn Afghanistan and Gaza. These are contexts in which youth physical mobilities are highly constrained, yet in each of these cases we also see youth creatively developing an array of strategies and initiatives to help improve their own and others’ health and well-being, for social and physical pleasure, and in some cases to challenge power relations. The three brief cases highlight the multiple and complex layers of transnational mobilities, with the flows of people, objects, and ideas across borders, being negotiated and (re)appropriated by youth in locally specific ways.

Contributor Notes

Holly Thorpe is Associate Professor at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. Her research on action sports, youth culture, media and new technologies, mobilities, gender, and critical sport for development includes more than sixty journal articles and book chapters. Her books include Transnational Mobilities in Action Sport Cultures (2014), Snowboarding Bodies in Theory and Practice (2011), and the coedited Routledge Handbook of Physical Cultural Studies (2017) and Women in Action Sport Cultures (2016). E-mail:

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Interdisciplinary Journal of Mobility Studies