Monday, February 14, 2005

space, youth, identity

I have been reading in this paper about the 'processual construction of space/identity' for 'street frequenting youth'.
(You may be interested also in seeing maps of gang areas in LA. Surf the site for info about the gangs.)

Robinson talks about the ways in which groups of young people include and exclude others by orienting themselves towards particular spaces and thus mark out boundaries for their groups through the use of space. Identities are often confirmed as tied to a particular place through the name of gangs or groups, such as 'Chapel Group'.

Value systems are gradually constructed and articulated by members, linking spaces with identity and investing spaces and activities with meaning. The paper talks about sociospatial divisions and networks but moves on to discuss the impact of place on behaviour, presumably as associations of space and identity become reified. In the conclusion, Robinson talks about, 'the processual creation of spaces and identities central to the nogotiation of daily and life paths'

Anyway I do think this is how online affinity spaces can work in terms of identity but I need to think more. When I have looked at particular groups on the Internet, as they get to know each other more, developing ways of communicating together, shared topics, in jokes, themes interests and even values, just going to that place on the Net seems to confirm their identity more and more as being part of the group, part of the space. And in reports of their life outside the net, they seem to have to reflect a meat space life consistent with what is talked about on the net. I have found this true on Babyz affinity spaces and on Wiccan communities. You should check out the sites though, some are fab.
You could go here, here , or here to see Babyz sites.
And for Wiccan fun try this, this or this.

And in the meantime, look at photos of street culture:
Here are some street-play shots.
Here are kids hanging out in Tokyo.

Do you think kids now hang out on line instead of on streets?

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Sheffield, South Yorks, United Kingdom
I am an academic interested in New Literacies, Digital Lifestyles, Informal Online Learning.