Clever love : dislocated intimacies among youth

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Journal article

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Emotion, Space and Society

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Affect, Codes of friendship, Hong Kong, Sex and romance, Youth


In this paper, we consider the sexual and affective life of youth in order to explore the social space of emotions as understood from youth's friendship relations. Our broad aim is to develop a cultural understanding of how youth negotiate a framework and a set of practices for establishing and experiencing their sexual and affective life. We focus on the context of Hong Kong, where there is a prevailing conservative sexual culture on one hand, and an open, hyperactive ecology of consumption of sexual imageries on the other. We ask, firstly, how youth negotiate a space of relatively unregulated nature outside of the disciplinary apparatus, so as to deal with matters of sex and romantic interest, but also paradoxically face their own acquiescence to a visible degree of sexual restraint many of them believe to be proper to their pre-marital sexual period of life. We argue that the discourses and practices of sex and love within youth culture in such contexts as Hong Kong tend to flourish within, and "dislocate" into, the codes of friendship embedded in a socially-oriented consumption environment. We started out researching youth sex, but find ourselves drawn toward a theorization of "friendship" and its many meanings and structures as forms of intimacy among young people.



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Erni, J. N., & Fung, A. (2011). Clever love : dislocated intimacies among youth. Emotion, Space and Society, 3(1), 21-27. doi:10.1016/j.emospa.2010.01.010