Encountering, regulating and resisting different forms of children’s and young people’s mobile exclusion in urban public space

Detta är en avhandling från Uppsala : Department of Social and Economic Geography

Sammanfattning: This thesis focuses on different forms of exclusion specifically related to the mobility of children in Japan by examining the role of their parents as gatekeepers and existing systems of protection and control as producers, regulators and organizers of their mobilities.Article I examines the everyday feelings of exclusion experienced by immigrant parents of preschool aged children in public park playgrounds in Tokyo. These parental feelings of exclusion arose from unsuccessful encounters between children, in part due to visible bodily differences. The article argues that this sense of exclusion is socially problematic as immigrant parents turn away from local public space mobilities towards virtual mobilities in online play dates with their countries of origin, and focus more on private home centered play through a style of self-segregation as coping techniques.Article II focuses on school based systems of protection and attitudes of parental protection in Kanagawa regarding stranger danger. These systems involve processes utilizing a visual pedagogy in which the stranger becomes known and is read as being ‘out of place’ in public space if their corporeal appearance transgresses a ‘regime of visuality’ through a form of networked regulation. The article argues that these systems and attitudes are creating a self-perpetuating embedded narrative of excessive risk and fear which impacts negatively on children’s independent mobility and is socially counterproductive in public space.Article III focuses on a controversially redeveloped urban park in Tokyo where factors such as ‘pay to play’ access to sports amenities and heavy rule sets are in place to regulate the space. The article illuminates contradictions which arose between the official redevelopment discourse and what then ultimately unfolded socially on the ground. It argues that the current park structures limit children’s and young people’s everyday access and mobilities, and further, that they direct their focus towards resisting adult structures.The combined findings of the thesis are that opportunities must be taken and implemented across parental, institutional and official scales to promote the everyday mobilities of children in urban public space in order to prevent them becoming mobile and political anomalies in public.