Accepted paper:

Contested norms, contested discourses: body piercing among the Czech youth

Author:

Martin Heřmanský (Charles University in Prague)

Paper short abstract:

Using the example of body piercing among the Czech youth attending high school, this paper deals with youth perspective on cultural practices perceived as counter-normative by the dominant society. It will focus on how norms are shaped by contesting discourses and how the youth use their agency in transgressing, negotiating and re-establishing these norms.

Paper long abstract:

Many cultural practices of the youth are often interpreted as transgressive or counter-normative, particularly by the dominant society. Using the example of body piercing among the Czech youth attending high school, I will try to show how these practices are interpreted by the piercees themselves emphasizing the difference of norms established by these two discourses. I will argue that to understand youth cultural practices like body piercing which are seen as counter-normative, it is necessary to understand how these practices are interpreted in different and contesting discourses. Only then it is possible to see and acknowledge the agency of youth in transgressing, negotiating and re-establishing the norms. I will furthermore argue that these interpretations are significantly shaped by the concept of youth prevalent in different discourses, which to some extent, however, influence each other.

panel G39
Makers, brokers, breakers: children and young people in legally plural worlds (IUAES Commission on Legal Pluralism)