9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN04 Sociology of Children and Childhood

2009-09-05 13:30:00 2009-09-05 15:00:00 Saturday, 5 September 13:30 - 15:00 POSTER SESSION Building II, C6.01

Living in the Suburbs: Urban Violence from a Child's Perspective

This presentation examines the forms and impact of urban violence in some neighbourhoods in the suburbs of Lisbon, Portugal, from a child?s perspectives. Sociological interest in urban violence dates back from past century and it?s an increasing topic in public discussion in contemporary societies. Nowadays, the perception of living in risk societies is strongly diffused, and the fear of violence affects our everyday life. Living in an urban area is as much as negotiating relationships with others as experiencing material places and spaces. In this way, children have emerged as a key source for understanding social dynamics and social changes. Rooted in recent developments of childhood studies that recognize children as social actors, situated in a particularly historical and spatial context (Corsaro, Christensen, James, Qvortrup, Montandon, Almeida, Sarmento among others), the currently ongoing research carried out with financial support provided by the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (SFRH/BD/43563/2008) aims to a better understanding of children?s socialization processes in communities looked as multi-problematic. The six neighbourhoods covered in this study were chosen because they experience relatively high levels of social deprivation. The contexts where someone lives influence the options you have, and as families influence the development of their own, they also suffer the influence of the space where they are living (McIntyre, McCord). The prevalence of certain patterns of social relations and networks, specially those that promote the access to illegal opportunities (Seaton et al.), deserves a particular regard in this research. Using ethnographic and child-centred research methods to explore children?s own accounts of their lives, the preliminary findings pointed out that violence affect them in many forms. Some of them emerge not only as victims, but also as agents of violence and crime in early ages. Children?s drawings, photographs, and texts bring up the way they represent living in poverty, social exclusion, domestic violence, deviance or crime. The stigma associated to neighbourhoods socially and spatially segregated should be seen in the context of other wider contemporary social changes. Specifically the ideas of fear, reflexive modernity and social risk will be used to analyse the phenomenon. (Preferably as POSTER)