Visualising Social Divisions in Berlin: Children's After-School Activities in Two Contrasted City Neighbourhoods


  • Olga den Besten



migrant children, social divisions, visual methods, subjective maps, children's drawings, activity theory, urban segregation


The article raises the issue of interconnectedness of social and spatial divisions, and addresses this issue through considering the phenomenon of urban segregation. The study explores children's and young people's experiences in two socially contrasted neighbourhoods in Berlin through subjective maps drawn by the children. The article focuses on major differences between children's representations of their "subjective territory" in the two segregated areas. Such territory looks larger and better explored in the drawings of children from a socially advantaged area, who picture a dense network of after-school "enrichment" activities and friends' homes. In contrast, children, mostly migrant, from a socially disadvantaged area depict rather few places for spending time after school, one of the most important of them being a free-access youth club. The article argues that children's social exploration of their neighbourhood is activity-bound and depends on financial resources and cultural capital available to these children. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs1002353


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Author Biography

Olga den Besten

Olga DEN BESTEN (NIKITINA) is an independent researcher in social sciences based in Paris. She was awarded her PhD in 2002 from Moscow State Pedagogical University and has worked on various research projects in Russia, France, Germany, and the UK. Since 2005, Olga has been working mainly in the field of childhood studies. This work has focused on the relationship of migrant children with their urban environment, as well as how children can contribute to changing their environment through participating in school-building projects. Her other research interests include gendered biographical patterns and strategies, wartime experiences and memories, career and entrepreneurship, and non-market economic activities. In her research, Olga DEN BESTEN uses qualitative methodology and is especially interested in visual and participatory research methods.




How to Cite

den Besten, O. (2010). Visualising Social Divisions in Berlin: Children’s After-School Activities in Two Contrasted City Neighbourhoods. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 11(2).