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Girls, consumption space and the contradictions ofhanging out in the city

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Abstract:

Geographers have effectively examined girls' reactions and resistances to adult control in public space, but the ways that girls learn about and reinscribe social differences like race and class through ‘hanging-out' practices in public, urban space have yet to be sufficiently explored and theorized. Therefore, in this paper I consider the normative productivity of girls' spatial practices, as well as girls' resistances to adultist space. I examine the case of consumption space and focus on how girls utilize, create and reproduce myriad social identifiers as they hang out in public, urban space. Consumption space and consumerism dominate the urban spaces and hanging-out practices of teenagers, and while girls complain about the ubiquity of consumption space, girls' public social-spatial activities inevitably involve consumption space. Therefore, consumption's symbols and spaces are central to the normative production of girls' identities like class and race, and of social difference more generally in urban space.

Keywords: chicas; consommation; consumo; consumption; girls; identidad; identity; identité; jeunes filles; jeunesse; juventud; subjectivity; subjectivité; subjetividad; youth

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14649360500200320

Affiliations: Ohio State University, Department of Geography and Women's Studies, Columbus, OH, 43210, USA

Publication date: August 1, 2005

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