Skateboarding in Seoul: A Sensory Ethnography


Sander Hölsgens
University of Groningen


As skaters increasingly engage with and respond to socio-political surges across the globe, skateboarding begins to refract into a multiplicity of situated practices. This includes a new wave of collectives and communities who re-imagine what cities could sound, feel, and be like.

Combining filmmaking with ethnographic writing, Sander Hölsgens traces the lived experience of a small group of skaters in South Korea. As a skater among skaters, he unravels the site-specific nuances and relational meanings of skateboarding in Seoul – working towards an intimate portrait of a growing community.

Cover photo: Jin Yob Kim

Cover design: Judith Leijdekkers

Skater on cover: Dae Geun Ahn

Cover font: Abhaya Libre, by Pushpananda Ekanayake, Sol Matas, Pathum Egodawatta

Copy editor: Paul O’Connor

Publisher: University of Groningen Press,
Broerstraat 4, 9712 CP Groningen

Production support: LINE UP boek en media bv.

The softcover version of this book (ISBN: 9789403429243) can be ordered via Print on demand directly on the site of our partner  Uitgeverij kleine Uil, and through all regular (internet) bookshops.

International shipping is possible via Amazon

This publication is peer reviewed

Book review: LSE review of Books

New: Spotify Podcast Beyond Boards, Episode 56

Listen to the Spotify Bonuslevel Podcast with Sander Hölsgens(Dutch-language): Skatecultuur en de geschiedenis van skategames met Sander Hölsgens



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Author Biography

Sander Hölsgens, University of Groningen

Sander Hölsgens is an anthropologist working across experimental media, installation, and performance. Trained as a visual anthropologist, he currently interrogates the intersection of documentary practices and activism. As the co-organiser and curator of Field Recordings, he presents work across anthropological cinema, sound art, and experimental film. In 2018, Sander finished his PhD at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, researching skateboarding in South Korea. He then co-founded Pushing Boarders to build a platform for and support skateboarders who effect social change. Sander acted as the Visual and New Media editor of Cultural Anthropology between 2015 and 2019.

Cover manuscript



June 10, 2021



Skateboarding, sensory ethnography, South Korea, embodiment, skill acquisition

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