Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Invisible Walls and Visible Youth: Territoriality among Young People in British Cities

an article by Jonny Pickering, Keith Kintrea and Jon Bannister (Department of Urban Studies, University of Glasgow) published in Urban Studies Volume 49 Number 5 (April 2012)


This paper explores how young people experience territoriality in six British cities. It challenges the prevailing view within existing literature that young people derive important benefits from their ability to shape their identities by occupying public spaces.

The paper is based on an exploratory study using semi-structured interviews, focus groups and cognitive mapping with young people. The origins, motivations and impacts of territoriality among groups and ‘gangs’ are examined, especially among those groups who possess an acute sense of place attachment and rivalry with groups from other neighbourhoods.

It finds that territoriality is a form of cultural capital passed from one generation to the next, often with rich, heavily mythologised histories. Territoriality comes from the close affinity between young people and place and is often expressed through periodic violent confrontations. The paper illustrates how territoriality limits mobility and subsequently imposes sanctions on access to leisure, education, employment and social opportunities.

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