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1 Geographies of young people Dr Louise Holt & Dr Sophie Bowlby University of Reading, UK.

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1 1 Geographies of young people Dr Louise Holt & Dr Sophie Bowlby University of Reading, UK

2 2 Structure Introduction Geographies of children and youth – key facets and concepts Examples from our research Some other examples from the field Conclusion – bringing geographies of young people into the secondary school curriculum

3 3 Social construction of childhood & youth Childhood and youth historically and spatially specific social constructions (Holloway and Valentine, 2000a; James et al., 1997) Only in modern times has physical immaturity been socially dealt with through the historical processes we call childhood [and youth] (Holloway and Valentine, 2000a: 4) Increasingly – embodied social constructions – appreciate the differences that age makes Challenge common sense assumptions of: Childhood as entirely natural Children as adults becomings (not as agents) Normative notions of development

4 4 Social construction of childhood & youth When do young people become adults? Age of sexual consent – 16 (male homosexual sex equalised in 1999 - previously 21, then 18) USA – varies across states from 16 to 18 Legal age of marriage without parents consent England and Wales – 18 Legal age of smoking moved from 16 to 18 in 2007 Legal age of drinking – (UK, 18; USA 21; Canada various, Quebec 18) Minimum wage – over 22 years = £5.52; 18-21 = £4.60; Under 18 = £3.40 What ages are appropriate for these activities? What assumptions are implicit in the differences in the minimum wage?

5 5 The social agency of children & youth Children are and must be seen as active in the social construction and determination of their own social lives, the lives of those around them and the societies in which they live (Prout and James, 1990: 8) Including the voices of children in academic research Need to appreciate differences between young people (Matthews, 2003; Holt and Holloway, 2006) Structural positioning of children Critiques of agency (Holt, 2006; forthcoming)

6 6 Place Place – the specificity of how childhood and youth are understood & experienced in different places Progressive sense of place (Massey, 1993; 1994) places as specific outcomes of global processes porous - not bounded heterogeneous senses of place e.g. - Katz (1994, 2004) with her study of a village (Howa) in Sudan & New York City – countertopography

7 7 Everyday spaces public space and the city institutional spaces the home (the body)

8 8 Everyday spaces How each is dedicated to the control and regulation of the childs body, and mind through regimes of discipline, learning, development, maturation and skill (James et al, 1998). Adult hegemony – e.g. over public space Which children & young people can contest, reproduce or transform (Holloway and Valentine, 2000b) Sites of learning (Gagen, 2001)

9 9 Spatial discourses The home The city street The rural National identities

10 10 The home & the city street Discourses of young people as Angels or Devils Increasing domestication and/or institutionalisation of young people In place at home (or institutionalised spaces) Out of place on the street (Little Devils) – Valentine (1996) – also classed, gendered, racialised (Also Manning et al, forthcoming) Image of young people removed for copyright reasons i/pix/2007/06_02/

11 11 The rural Both children and rurality idealised As innocent and pure Nostalgia The place for children (Jones, 1997; Matthews et al., 2001; Bushin, forthcoming)

12 12 Examples from our research 1.Sophie Bowlby – youth labour markets 2.Louise Holt – (re)producing disability in schools

13 13 Geographies of youth Research with Sally Lloyd Evans on young peoples transitions from school to work in Reading and Slough in late 1990s Compared experiences of young men and women from White British, Pakistani and African Caribbean backgrounds Interviewed: 230 Young people aged 16-25 who had their secondary education in Britain 23 employers in Slough and 20 in Reading as well as 18 agencies

14 14 Racialised gendering in the Reading and Slough youth labour market The concept of racialised gendering Comparing Reading and Slough Slough a multicultural town Reading little England Slough wedding photo: Windsor Reading: Broad St

15 15 Racialised gendering in the Reading and Slough youth labour market Looked at young peoples formal work experience and part-time work Employers attitudes to young men and women from different ethnic backgrounds

16 16 Racialised gendering in the Reading and Slough youth labour market Part-time work as norm – Valuable experience? – but generally offers poor training and pay – problem for those with poor qualifications Youd be odd if you didnt get a job (Pakistani woman, 17) At [Computer retailer] I didnt get hardly any training at all…they said … we can train you from scratch…Then when I started they just said well off you go and sell computers (White man, 17) Gendered choices of part-time work They work down at Dominos Pizza dont they, all the lads? (White woman, 16). They usually put a lot of the female staff on the shop floor, one, because of the heavy items in the stock room and [….] they say female employees seem to get on well with customers a little bit more than men – The same, all the blokes are in the kitchen at my place [and the women waitressing] (discussion between White man and woman, 18)

17 17 Racialised gendering in the Reading and Slough youth labour market Employers: prefer young women as employees; prefer a white English style had negative stereotypes of young men – especially young Asian and African-Caribbean men One thing, its harder for boys to get jobs than girls…because boys, especially Asian boys, Pakistani boys in Slough, havent you heard of them, Slough boys? – theyve got a bit of a reputation for being trouble (Pakistani woman, 17, Slough) cos its how theyre seen int it? Its like they think theyre all bad and whatever (African Caribbean woman, 19, Slough – talking about African Caribbean young mens problems in finding work) in Slough – had negative stereotypes of young Asian women

18 18 Racialised gendering in the Reading and Slough youth labour market Young people had very limited knowledge of the labour market – parents and peers are main informants – significant class/ethnic differences. For some young people, a highly localised, territorialised peer group Employers in Reading more ignorant of equal opportunities issues than those in Slough Slough employers - more negative stereotypes of young Asians than those in Slough

19 19 Empirical findings from 2 studies 1. Doctoral research – in-depth ethnographic; participant observation; semi-structured interviews with 42 children (age 7-10) (disabled and non- disabled); 20 adults – in schools 2. Semi-participatory research with 14 young people – repeat focus groups and self-directed photography>storyboards, age 11-16 all defined as having SEN – focus on inclusion/exclusion and social capital in school and leisure spaces > ESRC funded extension (Holt and Bowlby) – Case- studies required! (Dis)abling young people

20 20 differences

21 21 (Dis)abling children in institutional spaces Shift in location of the education of disabled children from segregated special to mainstream school spaces Polarised debates Neglect of young peoples voices Whole school spaces Internal school spaces Formal Hidden Informal More recently – interconnections between home, school and leisure spaces

22 22 (Dis)abling children in institutional spaces Disability, like childhood and youth is an embodied socio- spatial construction And is performed differently – even at localised scales

23 23 Schools – specific moments in space & time Schools - local expression of the education institution precarious accomplishments in time and space (Philo and Parr, 2000: 517) Connected to wider education institution Located in space Sites of creative social agency School > Ableist education institution designed for a normally developing child (Holt, 2004a) > different interpretations Children physically excluded/included > mind-body characteristics (Holt, 2003) – socio-spatially specific Variously (dis)abling practices and spatialities of and within schools (interconnected to the broader education institution )

24 24 Segregated spaces – demarking the other? Rosie [needs a lot of help], off Miss Bingham because she's Downs Syndrome (Rosalind, non-disabled girl, 5.2, Church Street).

25 25 (Dis)abling children in informal cultures …learning environments …are often the spaces through which children become aware of, and begin reproducing social identities that circulate through broader social space ( Gagen, 2000: 213) Young people often other peers who fall outside their normative expectations of behaviour/bodily performance inclusions/exclusions everyday practices Expectations differ to adults, but points of confluence Varies at different stages & different schools Dynamic, shifting and tied to other axes of identity Can build relationships of recognition that transform dominant representations of disability

26 26 Affirmative relationships of recognition Ali is wheeling around in circles with four girls holding onto the back of his wheelchair. All of the children involved are laughing and seem to be enjoying themselves (research diary, Rose Hill) A girl involved highlights the meaning of the game: [we play] this horsy game that Ali made up – its well funny. You have to hold onto the back of his wheelchair and you go giddy-up (laughs). Were pretending to be the horsies and Ali is a carriage (laughs) (Leah, girl with learning differences, Rose Hill). (Holt, 2007)

27 27 Other examples 1: the youth labour market Linda McDowell – interviews with young men with poor qualifications in Sheffield and Cambridge – book Redundant Masculinities Assesses the impact of different types of labour market and locality on young mens aspirations and experiences Explores the construction of white working class masculinities in the spaces of school, the street, home and work Examines the importance of ethnicity, class and gender

28 28 Other examples 2: risky teen geographies Morse Dunkley (2004) Research with rural North Vermont teenagers – everyday geographies Socio-economic, aged-based and geographic marginalisation Carve out their own non- minor spaces e.g crossing the Canadian border and drinking in bars, or drinking in cars But risky geographies of drink- driving Highly gendered (male) Morse Dunkley (2004) p.564 A North Vermont Village Image removed for copyright reasons

29 29 Conclusion: using geographies of young people in the school curriculum Empirical examples – a burgeoning field: Other interesting topics might include: youth cultures; young people and public spaces; student cultures/studentification See Childrens Geographies Children, Youth and Environments (free online journal) Holloway and Valentine (2000) Holt forthcoming (2009) Methodologies – young people doing geographies? Interdisciplinary interconnections – social science, citizenship

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