This communication presents an analysis of youth sociability in four different school contexts situated in segregated urban areas in Brussels and Johannesburg. According to an ethnographic perspective, the research focused on the schooling process at work outside the classroom. In these schools, we observed that the school experience of learners is increasingly marked by the popular (street) culture and the global (mass) media culture which influence the reconfiguration of complex identities. The presence and importance of these non schooling codes inside the school premises has a strong meaning in terms of identity construction of teenagers taught in low standard schools. In opposition to the critical theories that believe in the homogenization of culture, it seems that this mass culture does not necessarily lead to alienating forms of identity in disadvantaged social environments. On the contrary, the mass culture offers ways of belonging and could refer to a will of integration to the consumer society or a way to avoid exclusion. Even in relegated contexts, the appropriation of mass culture in a specific youthful culture could be understood in different ways.
The first explanation is linked to the emergence of new groups generation who increasingly indentify and involve themselves in different global musical types, dress modes, etc. Therefore they express themselves through behaviours and particular aesthetic practices which are characterised by a strong visibility potential which goes beyond borders and localities. These “generation markers” have expanded largely carving out new globally defined spaces in which ideas of self and others are imagined, produced and lived. The second explanation relates more to visible ethnic processes in the multicultural school contexts under study. Following a self differentiation attempt, the learners appropriate themselves specific features from the global popular culture in order to express or claim their cultural identity or the culture from their community of belonging.
Nom de la manifestation
11th NYRIS symposium Global / Local Youth – New Civic Culture, Rights and Responsibilities