Territoriality and disadvantage among young people: an exploratory study of six British neighbourhoods

Kintrea, K. , Bannister, J. and Pickering, J. (2010) Territoriality and disadvantage among young people: an exploratory study of six British neighbourhoods. Journal of Housing and the Built Environment, 25(4), pp. 447-465. (doi:10.1007/s10901-010-9195-4)

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This paper aims to explore the sources, the characteristics and the impacts of territoriality among young people in disadvantaged neighbourhoods, and to consider to what extent territoriality is a distinctive source of disadvantage. The essence of territoriality is that control is claimed by one group over a defined space and defended against others. The paper is intended as a contribution to the debate about the social dynamics that underlie neighbourhood effects, that is the question of whether there are independent effects on individuals’ life chances that arise from living in a particular neighbourhood. The evidence presented comes from semi-structured interviews and from focus groups with young people in six British cities. The findings are that territoriality is a part of everyday life for young people in the research sites. It is a cultural expectation, passed down to young people from older generations, often with deep historical roots. It emerges from young people’s close identification with small home neighbourhoods, and is often expressed in violent conflict with territorial groups from other areas. The impacts of territoriality behaviour include restricting young people to their home neighbourhood, cutting them off from opportunities in the wider city, and criminalisation. They fall most heavily on boys and young men who have a core involvement in territorial conflict. However, other young people, including those who had no active involvement in territorial groups also experience restrictions on their freedom to travel. There is also evidence in some areas that low level, routine territoriality could be a foundation for the formation of criminal gangs involved in drugs distribution and violent crime. In bringing to the surface this previously poorly documented form of social behaviour the paper adds to the argument that place matters to people’s life chances in poor areas.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kintrea, Professor Keith and Pickering, Mr Jonathan and Bannister, Mr Jonathan
Authors: Kintrea, K., Bannister, J., and Pickering, J.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies
Journal Name:Journal of Housing and the Built Environment
ISSN (Online):1573-7772
Published Online:12 October 2010

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