Accepted Paper:

Glocalization of lifestyle sports: Californian dreams of Japanese skaters  


Silke Werth (University of California Santa Barbara)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the glocalization of skateboarding as subculture through the narration of four young Japanese “skaters” sojourning in Santa Barbara, California.

Paper long abstract:

Skateboarding as participant oriented lifestyle sport and "subculture" has reached worldwide popularity and has attracted many young people seeking alternative identifications or trying to create new values. While many elements ascribed to "skate culture" including the more consumerist aspects and the alleged image of "slackers" and "anti-mainstream flair" predominate worldwide, the recognition and connection as skaters appears to be locally bound. This paper explores the glocalization of skateboarding in Japan by narrating first hand experiences of four young Japanese self-declared "skaters" who's lifestyle triggered them to embark on a sojourn in California, the birthplace of skateboarding. The four individuals introduced have very different backgrounds, previous life experiences and dreams, yet their identification as skaters binds them together in different ways. This paper shows how the identification with subcultures such as skateboarding on the one hand creates a more fluid and borderless perception of the world while at the same time stressing the sense of belonging to a localized community by giving insights on how young Japanese full blood skaters abroad struggle with identifying with the lifestyle they considered key in their perception of self while at home.

Panel P115
The perspective of glocalization: addressing the changing society and culture under globalization