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Algerian Youth on the Move. Capoeira, Street Dance and Parkour: Between Integration and Contestation

Algerian Youth on the Move. Capoeira, Street Dance and Parkour: Between Integration and Contestation

Chapter:
(p.184) Algerian Youth on the Move. Capoeira, Street Dance and Parkour: Between Integration and Contestation
Source:
Algeria
Author(s):
Britta Hecking
Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9781786940216.003.0010

After a long decade of political and cultural isolation due to the bloody civil war in the 1990s, processes of economic reform and ‘opening to the world’ intensified since 2000 in urban Algeria. While public space is still controlled by what is an authoritarian state, it is also a highly contested space. This chapter analyzes how young Algerians reclaim their access to the public sphere and forge new identities through the practice of global youth cultures like parkour, capoeira and street-dance. Common to each of these practices is ‘the body in motion’, the appropriation of urban spaces that has a counter hegemonic character. Young people use these activities to negotiate material constraints and in-between identities in everyday life. This is especially clear in the aesthetics and philosophy of parkour: one plays with obstacles or passes them using only the force of the body. Social media play an important role in these urban cultures for initiation, inspiration and representation: video-clips circulate via Facebook or Youtube and create new communities connecting local ‘crews’ with national federations and transnational networks. By appropriating local streets through the appropriation of global cultures, the young not only empower themselves but also contribute to stage a new image of the young Algerian nation.

Keywords:   Youth Culture in Algeria, Street-dance, Parkour, Integration, Contestation

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