Playing gender in public and community spaces

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Abstract:

Taking its point of departure in a shopping centre called Torget and a Pentecostal church called Betel, this article looks at how youths use places in their identity work. Using concepts like doing gender and gender play, we look at how youths negotiate what is seen as appropriate femininities and masculinities and thus co-produce the places as gendered in different ways. By contrasting the core group 'hanging out' at Torget and the core group at Betel, who also spend a lot of time at Torget, we see how youths who are perceived as being very different do gender similarly as well as differently at the same place, and that the same youths do gender differently according to which place they are at. The article shows that there is not necessarily contradiction in being active in community spaces like a church and hanging around at Torget. Rather, they provide spaces for different and complementary ways of negotiating identity. Hanging out at a shopping centre is a meaningful activity in which gender and place are mutually constituted and where the youths' practice makes them not only consumers, but also co-producers of place.

Keywords: Christian youths; gender; public space; sexuality; shopping centre; youths

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00291950310002143

Affiliations: 1: Vestfold County Council Svend Foynsgt. 9 NO-3126 Tønsberg Norway kariar@vfk.no 2: Department of Geography Norwegian University of Science and Technology Dragvoll NO-7491 Trondheim Norway annesl@svt.ntnu.no

Publication date: September 1, 2003

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