Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Digital interactions between London’s youth

A study examined the online and offline relations and interactions between the working class and upper-middle class youth in London.
Digital interactions between London’s youth
The EU-funded UPLOAD (Urban politics of London youngsters analysed digitally) investigated the experienced differences among young Londoners of different cultural backgrounds. This research was highly relevant for London, due to the city’s high cultural diversity, young demographics and rich communication infrastructures.

London's cultural diversity acts a platform for visualising a person's place in the world and digital connectivity is a tool for making worldliness manageable. People living in working class environments are aware of their mobility constraints and the marginality of their neighbourhood. This contrasts the perceptions of individuals living in an upper-middle class setting, who can take advantage of their mobility to explore the differences between London and abroad. However their digital connections are set up to retreat and sustain familiarities.

Study results showed that policy initiatives should view young people as being influenced by class, gender and race relations, both online and offline. Working-class youth maintain an extremely diverse cultural network, while upper class young people used social media to maintain their closed community. These differences should be taken into account in policy initiatives at various levels, simultaneously enabling both urban youth classes to bridge these spatial, gender, racial and class differences.

Researchers achieved five important milestones. First, drawing on concepts from urban studies, sociology and migration studies, and adding data from dialogue media, communication, feminist and post-colonial theory, a new framework was developed.

Subsequently, after a series of conferences and interviews, an approach was developed, based on distinct creative, participatory and digital methods to study digital practices. Accomplices participated in a digital mapping exercise, using their Facebook network, and the data collected revealed patterns and particularities of the digital practices of young people.

As a result of these innovative theoretical and methodological frameworks, a total of 22 publications, of which 8 were directly relating to the project, were achieved. Negotiations with a renowned publisher for a proposed monograph are also under way.

During the project, a network of scholars working on the fields of digital technologies, the city, migration and race was established. Project research led to a prize being awarded, for the organisation of a two day symposium and a one day master class.

Related information


Digital interactions, youth, UPLOAD, cultural diversity
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