9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN30 Youth and Generation

2009-09-03 09:00:00 2009-09-03 10:30:00 Thursday, 3 September 09:00 - 10:30 Mobility and Urban Space Building II, B2.02

Mobility and spatial identity of young suburbans : what social interactions, patterns and representations, between field and town?

From an ethnographic point of view, this paper considers the issues of mobility and spatial identities as a central part of the youth social identity construction (De Singly 2002). These issues are illustrated by drawing on recent fieldwork with young people (13-17 years old) living in suburban areas (Dombes) east of the city of Lyon, France. Through in-depth interview narratives, it attempts to understand young people lifestyles, which evolve as a process of moving in and out of the "field" / the "town", with and without parent's help. A part of the work consists in interrogating space representational practices, like for example "here" and "elsewhere", "public" and "private" space (Breviglieri & Cicchelli 2007) as compare to those of urban adolescents. These questions can be analysed by following daily travel patterns, the socialization to space, the building of their own social networks with/without the parents (Weller 2009) and the definition of identity they can provide, focusing on the multidimensional notion of territory. This perspective especially allows us to discuss the construction of a gendered mobility as hypothetically concomitant to gender identity, regarding to the differences observed between boys and girls (Buffet 2005).
Finally, those field examples can provide concrete elements for thinking the process of constructing "European society or European societies". Indeed, it can be questioned through the building of youth identity(-ties), framed by the interactions between larger processes (the global) and local territorial conceptions (the local).