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'Come and live here and you'll experience it': : Youths talk about their deprived neighbourhood

By Kirsten Visser, Gideon Bolt and Ronald van Kempen


This study examined youths' lived experiences of a deprived neighbourhood in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Previous studies assume that deprived neighbourhoods pose serious risks for youths. What is largely missing from these studies, however, are the experiences of young people themselves. Do they indeed experience their neighbourhood as hostile and unsafe? Do they really experience a lack of resources? We conducted a qualitative study among youths aged 13-18 living in Feijenoord, a district of Rotterdam. The research demonstrates how important it is to discover youths' views on and experiences of their environments, as their experiences are very diverse and often differ from the hegemonic discourse. While the respondents were aware of problems, such as crime and violence, they also pointed to several positive aspects of their neighbourhood. In the eyes of the youths, their neighbourhood has both instrumental and affective meaning. Neighbourhood effect research might benefit from paying more attention to the idea that place can have multiple meanings, and from looking at the perceived neighbourhood strengths instead of only focusing on the deficits in deprived neighbourhoods. © 2014 © 2014 Taylor & Francis

Topics: identity, risk, self-esteem, Life-span and Life-course Studies, Sociology and Political Science, Social Sciences(all)
Year: 2015
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