‘Oh my god, we're not doing nothing’: young people's experiences of spatial regulation

Gray, Debra and Manning, Rachel (2013). ‘Oh my god, we're not doing nothing’: young people's experiences of spatial regulation. British Journal of Social Psychology, 53(4) pp. 640–655.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/bjso.12055


Social psychologists have become increasingly concerned with examining the ways in which social practices are interrelated with their location. Critical perspectives have highlighted the traditional lack of attention given to both the collective aspects of spatial identities, together with the discursive practices that construct the relationships between people and places. In this article, we draw together the developing discursive work on place with work on children's geographies, in order to examine young people's accounts of spatial regulation. Adopting a discursive approach to the analysis of focus group discussion, we illustrate a variety of concerns managed in relation to spatial practices by 41 young people living in a large city in the South of England. Our findings suggest that everyday use of public space by young people is constructed at a nexus of competing concerns around childhood/adulthood, freedom, and citizenship, and illustrate the dynamic nature of place, and its regulation, as a resource for constructing identities.

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