Girl Making: A Cross-Cultural Ethnography on the Processes of Growing Up Female

By Gerry Bloustien | Go to book overview

Chapter 4
(Public) Space Invaders

The sense of one's place, as the sense of what one can or cannot
"allow oneself" implies a tacit acceptance of one's position, a sense of
limits ("that's not meant for us") or – what amounts to the same thing
- a sense of distances, to be marked and maintained, respected, and
expected of others (Pierre Bourdieu 1991: 235).

We don't meet there. That's where the townies meet. (Grace)


Introduction: Public space? Whose public space?

In the previous chapter, I explored the way the young women in my research negotiated "privacy" within their domestic realms. I argued that, for some of the girls, there was very little negotiation of private space for the "serious play" of self-making. Sometimes this was partly because of the limited physical room in their homes, as in the situation of Janine, Sara, or Diane. However, more importantly, this ability to experiment or to negotiate private space could be encouraged or hindered through the symbolic boundaries of the (gendered) familial and familiar value systems of that micro-world. Far more powerful than any physical containment of space, the selfperception and self-surveillance of what was or what was not considered appropriate and acceptable, what was or was not questioned and questionable in their worlds, limited and constrained the form of and the predisposition of "play."

Some "experimental" play was "managed" relatively easily in the home within these often tacit value systems. The constraining framework for many of the young women in my research ironically

-151-

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Girl Making: A Cross-Cultural Ethnography on the Processes of Growing Up Female
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface viii
  • Acknowledgements xiv
  • List of Illustrations xvi
  • Introduction - Ceci N''Est Pas Une Jeune Fille 1
  • Chapter 1 - Camera Power 29
  • Chapter 2- My Body, Myself 67
  • Chapter 3- Whose Private Space? 111
  • Chapter 4- (Public) Space Invaders 151
  • Chapter 5- Learning to Play It "Cool" 179
  • Chapter 6- "Music Is in My Soul" 217
  • Chapter 7- Global Girl-Making 249
  • Bibliography 273
  • Index 289
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