City Research Online

Street social capital in the liquid city

Ilan, J. (2013). Street social capital in the liquid city. Ethnography, 14(1), pp. 3-24. doi: 10.1177/1466138112440983


This article reflects on the lives of a group of young men on Ireland's socio-economic periphery, focusing on how exclusion shapes their cultural orientation and orders their spatial practices. Whilst populist imaginaries and certain academic understandings of young, disadvantaged, urban males tend to cast them in the role of claiming and violently defending territories, their relationships to space may be considerably more transient and fluid. Within the late-modern 'liquid city' exclusion has cast the young men researched here into migratory practices, where they must negotiate relationships with potentially hostile peers in various parts of the urban environment. Adopting street cultural norms of rugged masculinity, crimino-entrepreneurialism and the recourse to violence can result in the accumulation of 'street social capital'. This can allow disadvantaged young people to secure a sense of existential security, pleasurable experiences, disposable income and a culturally mediated notion of dignity, despite their spatial and socio-economic exclusion. © The Author(s), 2012 Reprints and permissions:

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2012, The Author(s), SAGE.
Publisher Keywords: young people, street crime, street culture, social capital, exclusion, urban space, biography
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
SWORD Depositor:
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