Code Switching

Jeffrey Lane

in The Digital Street

Published in print November 2018 | ISBN: 9780199381265
Published online November 2018 | e-ISBN: 9780199381302 | DOI:
Code Switching

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  • Urban and Rural Studies
  • Sociology


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Chapter 3 explores the primary challenge of the digital street: managing its visibility. This chapter reveals how teenagers in Harlem use online spaces to live out varied and contradictory identities. The author discusses the code-switching strategies teens developed to answer to the street code, but also to obligations of family, school, and work. The chapter indicates that teenagers first partitioned street life on Twitter to keep it from the adult world on Facebook before eventually opening up to the possibility of help from their elders. The author discusses Sarah’s fight video, Tiana’s attempts to “retire” from fighting, and Andre’s tenuous transition to college. The author finds that the teenagers in his study publicly supported each other’s scholastic and work-related achievements and did not count themselves out from mainstream life as others have argued of black teenagers in street-corner groups.

Keywords: visibility; identity; code switch; family; school; work; Twitter; Facebook; fight video; street-corner group

Chapter.  9214 words. 

Subjects: Urban and Rural Studies ; Sociology

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