Riding, Filming and Posting: Digital Ways to Skateboarding Professional Authenticity in Italy
Skaters have always been involved in making their practice visible and recordable to become professional athletes through gaining sponsorship from corporations, meanwhile struggling to keep subcultural recognition within the peer community. New media are providing amateurs and professional skaters with a variety of more accessible digital media-based careers.
In this article, drawing on a qualitative research project carried out in 2014-15, including participant observation, digital ethnography and interviews with skaters in the peripheral skate context of Turin, Northern Italy, we will focus on the ways three profiles of skate-involved professionals (skate-shop managers; sponsored amateurs; and filmers) use new media. New media on the one hand facilitate the access to the main sponsorship scheme career; on the other hand, alternative uses of new technologies (e.g., opting for low-quality filming or displaying creative, ground-level tricks) open up new battlegrounds for claiming subcultural authenticity, reshaping distinctions and hierarchies within different skate professional careers.