FAQ: Python Namespaces - Enclosing Namespace

This community-built FAQ covers the “Enclosing Namespace” exercise from the lesson “Python Namespaces”.

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Learn Intermediate Python 3

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Is it meant to be functon or function in the description.

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I’d assume ‘function’ but at least it’s consistently misspelled so the identifier is still valid. It’s been raised as a bug anyway, ta.

How do I access the parents namespace from within an enclosed function?

I noticed the locals() only returns the variables from the function itself, globals() returns the same global namespace as when called from the main code. Hence my question, how can I get the object’s parent namespace?


I don’t think there’s a standard route to access all the names from the enclosing (function) scope. Don’t forget that the effective ‘namespace’ of a function only really has a meaning during a function call and the actual objects are forgotten afterwards. Closures are a very special case where an additional reference to an object from the outer scope is effectively captured by an inner function.

Therefore inside an inner function that used names from the enclosing scope the only enclosing scope names you’d have direct access to are those that were used when the (inner) function was first defined (so you already have references for them anyway).

It’s a bit of a complex implementation detail that you probably don’t need to worry about. In short, there is no simple way to do this.


It might be able to do with inspect module (which I learned today).

import inspect global_variable = 'global' def outer_function(): outer_value = "outer" def inner_function(): inner_value = "inner" def inner_nested_function(): nested_value = 'nested' inner_nested_frame = inspect.currentframe() inner_frame = inner_nested_frame.f_back outer_frame = inner_frame.f_back global_frame = outer_frame.f_back print(inner_nested_frame.f_locals) print(inner_frame.f_locals) print(outer_frame.f_locals) print(global_frame.f_locals) inner_nested_function() inner_function() outer_function()
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