On the move: Ethnographic accounts of adolescents’ non-school (im)mobility

Authors: Haifa AlArasi*, University of Toronto , Ron Buliung, University of Toronto Mississauga
Topics: Transportation Geography, Qualitative Methods
Keywords: Adolescents, Digital Ethnography, Mobility, Childhood, Qualitative GIS
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 3:55 PM / 5:35 PM
Room: Congressional A, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


While there is a growing body of research on children’s mobility, the focus has been primarily on independent mobility and Active School Travel (AST) of young children aged 7 -13, leaving behind other modes of travel that are central in everyday childhood. Furthermore, the findings of these studies cannot be extended to older youth because of their increased autonomy and participation in afterschool activities, and their subsequent increased unsupervised mobility. These activity-travel differences, between children and older youth justify exclusive exploration into the daily activities, mobilities, and spaces of adolescents. Drawing from an ongoing ethnographic study that examines non-school activities and travel of adolescents aged 13 – 19 in the suburban city of Mississauga, Canada, this paper highlights the contemporary spaces and places of childhood, the mobility experiences between them, the activities and actions that can occur while on the move, and the (re)production of these spaces and experiences through the mediation of childhood with and through environmental, social, and material structures. GPS data annotated by the participants provide insights into gendered activity spaces that are mediated by physical and social factors and embedded within micro and macro power relations.

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