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Wed, 4 Dec 2013 18:43:40 +0100
"For communication among alternative media producers, academics, artists, and activists." <[log in to unmask]>
Christian Fuchs <[log in to unmask]>
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January 15, 2014
Johanna Sumiala
Youth Street Politics in the Media/on the Street
University of Westminster
Harrow Campus, 
Room A6.8

Registration at latest until January 12, per e-mail to [log in to unmask]

In recent years, the issue of boundary has attracted considerable interest among scholars of cultural and media geography, anthropology, cultural studies, sociology and media studies (see e.g. Soja 2010; Massey 2005; Dikec 2007; Fassin 2010). In this presentation I will examine urban youth life from the perspective of crossing of different physical, virtual and symbolic boundaries. To follow Malone’s (2002: 2) insight: ”All boundaries, whether national, global or simply street names on a road map are socially constructed. They are as much the products of society as are other social relations that mark the landscape. For this reason, boundaries matter. They construct our sense of identity in the places we inhabit and they organize our social space through geographies of power.” 
The crossing of different boundaries has become a routinized practice of everyday life for many young people. McLuhan’s famous idea on media as an extension of man is truer than ever as young people connect themselves to the surrounding realities and social worlds with camera phones and Facebook postings. As urban city life has become increasingly mediatized the meanings of geographical places and spaces have been seen to diminish simultaneously when the online environments have gained new significance (e.g. Baym & boyd 2012). Yet, how these geographical and virtual realms are connected or separated and what kind of hierarchies and power relations are created and maintained between these two scales of spatialities in the everyday experiences of young people still remains much under theorized, let alone empirically researched. 
The goal of this presentation is to sketch the concept of ‘street politics’ to better grasp the dynamics of constant crossings of different boundaries in youth life. In this exercise of sketching street politics, I will pay special attention to the intersection of local, national, transnational and global dimensions of street and the media, the role of the interface between the private and the public in the street and the media and the contested interplay between the two as both the embodied and the imagined. The theoretical approach to street politics is complemented with empirical examples drawing on media and street ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Tower Hamlets London and Malmi Helsinki. The research project Youth Street Politics in the Media Age: Helsinki and London Compared is carried out in the University of Helsinki, The Finnish Youth Research Society, UCL, in cooperation with the Tampere University of Applied Sciences, The British Council, and The Finnish Institute in
For more info, please visit: http://blogs.helsinki.fi/streetpolitics/

Johanna Sumiala, Ph.D., is an adjunct professor in the Department of Social Research/Media and Communication Studies at the University of Helsinki, Finland, and a senior research fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. Her main interests are media and social theory, social media, media anthropology, virtual ethnography, ritual theory, media and violence. Her studies have been published in both English and Finnish. In addition to writing numerous articles for such journals as Media, Culture & Society; M/C journal, Communication, Culture & Critique; and Social Anthropology, she has co-edited and contributed to several books, including Implications of the Sacred (2006), Images and Communities (2007) and School Shootings: Mediatized Violence in a Global Age (2012). Her most recent monograph, Media and Ritual: Death, Community and Everyday Life, was published by Routledge in 2012.