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The (re)production of climbing space: bodies, gestures, texts

Rickly, J.M.



According to Lefebvre, space is not an absolute given, an empty and presumed starting point, but space is produced through human action. Further, he contends, there is a material basis to the production of space – the “practical and fleshy body”. The body must be conceived as both active in the production of space, as well as produced by space, and thereby subject to the determinants of that space. This paper demonstrates the crucial role of the body in Lefebvre’s trialectic as it interrogates the embodied mobile practice of rock climbing, specifically sport climbing. First, it begins with an examination of the role of climbing bodies in the production of climbing space; put into practice by the perceived space of the rock, bodies shape and are shaped by this interaction. Second, it investigates the mechanisms that continue the production of climbing space off the rock face, as climbers communicate with practice-specific gestures and jargon. Third, it approaches climbing landscapes as texts, focusing on the production of representations of space as routes are inscribed on rock faces, transcribed into guidebooks and websites, and circulated among climbing media. Finally, considering landscape as a way of seeing forces the investigation to return, full-circle, to situate the ways bodies enact landscapes in relation to textual representations of space. As such, this paper explores the relationality of individual climbing bodies, rock climbing communities, and climbing media in the (re)production of climbing space to demonstrate the complementarity of landscape-body and landscape-as-text perspectives in the social production of space.


Rickly, J. (2016). The (re)production of climbing space: bodies, gestures, texts. cultural geographies,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 7, 2016
Publication Date May 25, 2016
Deposit Date Jun 2, 2016
Publicly Available Date Jun 2, 2016
Journal cultural geographies
Print ISSN 1474-4740
Electronic ISSN 1477-0881
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords rock climbing, Lefebvre, embodiment, gestures, text
Public URL
Publisher URL
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address:


Production of climbing space - Accepted.pdf (770 Kb)

Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address:

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