Dutch-Moroccan girls navigating public space: Wandering as an everyday spatial practice
SourceSpace and Culture, 22, 3, (2019), pp. 280-293
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ RSCR CAOS
Space and Culture
SubjectAnthropology and Development Studies
Based on qualitative research among female Dutch-Moroccan teenagers in two underprivileged neighborhoods in the city of Utrecht, the Netherlands, this article focuses on the spatial practices of young Muslim women in public space. Compared to their male counterparts, who "hang around" in groups, female teens spend less time in public space. We focus on girls' "wandering practices" through the neighborhood, a spatial practice structured by their search for freedom (to spend time outside the home, to talk to friends in private) and by social control (to avoid the presence of young men, to avoid being gossiped about). Our research shows that wandering both decreases their visibility and pushes against gendered cultural norms about women in public space. By analyzing their wandering as a form of social navigation, we show how these teenagers maneuver through both the physical neighborhood and the gendered cultural norms regarding appropriate behavior in public space.
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