Book | Chapter
'Learning to see, or how to make sense of the skillful things skateboarders do'
Sander Hölsgens wrote the chapter 32 of The Routledge International Handbook of Sensory Ethnography as part of the Multi-modal sensory ethnography. In Learning to see, or how to make sense of the skillful things skateboarders do' Hölsgens focuses on the actions of skateboards, their maneuvers and their interactions with architectural elements. It shows how sensory ethnography is a suitable set of methods and perspectives for investigating how skaters acquire visual, auditory, and physical skills.
- Sander Hölsgens
- 28 November 2023
- The Routledge International Handbook of Sensory Ethnography
Skateboarding is a mystery. It looks like an austere practice, a tool for social good, a discipline of failure. It presents itself as a subculture, an Olympic sport, a slice of masculinity, an embodied pedagogy. So, what are the skills needed to become a skater? This chapter zooms in on the things skateboards do–how these devices twist and turn, scratch the surfaces of architectural furniture, become one with their users. It positions sensory ethnography as a set of approaches and sensibilities well-equipped for studying how skaters learn to see, listen, and move. The overarching aim is threefold: first, to draw useful connections between the phenomenology of skill acquisition and sensory ethnography; second, to apply this approach to the study of bodily skills; third, to show how sensory ethnography affords experiential and multimodal outputs. Along the way, the chapter touches upon some of the intricacies of skateboarding itself."