Birgit Kleist Pedersen, assistant professor, University of Greenland
Frank Sejersen, assistant professor, Department of Cross Cultural Studies, University of Copenhagen
Anders Lund Hansen, assistant professor, Department of Social and Economic Geography, Lund University.
PhD dissertation (in danish) index:
Youth and Urbanity in Greenland – interpreting the city: visions, skills and creativity is a PhD dissertation which examines a particular aspect of contemporary life in Greenland’s second largest town, Sisimiut. Elaborated by ten case studies, young people’s perception and dynamic use of urban settings is set to raise a number of important perspectives on both the present and future elements of urbanity in Sisimiut - the pulse of young people’s visions, skills and creativity, embedded in daily practices in urban space, in both the city and the surrounding country. Given the fact that young citizens in Sisimiut act on the cutting edge, signifying the city's future, this dissertation argues that young people’s continuous input to the city is helping to create an effective voice in the ongoing negotiations of urban resources. The voice of young men and women in Sisimiut encompasses body-centered performative actions, symbolic representations of space, as well as narratives of private and public responsibilities related to localities. In the ten case studies, social and narrative spaces are analyzed in connection with activities such as motocross, trial cycling, skate- and snowboarding, in B-boying, in youth clubs, a work camp and hiking, a short movie about a young man and women living in Sisimiut, an art exhibition and tech-reports about leisure.
Empirically, the dissertation is based on anthropological fieldwork conducted in 2006 and 2007. A number of individual informants between ages 15 to 24 years were continuously observed. Additional data has been collected through questionnaires, formal and group interviews, and participant observations in a wide range of contexts. Apart from fieldwork in both institutional and non-institutional settings, the dissertation presents data generated through action anthropology, as well as disseminating the study process in new media.
Theoretically, the dissertation is founded in an interdisciplinary approach to agency in activity venues, a critical realist theory of interplay between actors and structures, reflexivity and finally, a significant input in examining youth and urbanity in Sisimiut is the perspective of rhythmanalysis. Intensity, seen as an essential rhythm of young people’s engagement with urban settings, is argued to affect both the energy and willpower of the young people to the whole community. Finally, there is a particular rhythm found in the data, namely in the youth activities accentuation of how action reinforces the path to success - new openings and opportunities in terms of the future, yet unknown city.[This work is part of “Urban Greenland – movements, narratives and creativity, a research project supported by a grant from The Danish Council for Independent Research | Humanities (FKK) (2006-2009)]
Cover design: © Matej Hanauer (FAVU Brno/CZ), 2010
Courtesy of David Brezina - multylingual typeface design and typography
Photo: © Jakub Christensen Medonos (2006+07) & Aqqalunnguaq Heilmann (2008)
Case study 5.2