Cultural activities of young adults in urban time-space : the case of Paleo Phaliro in Athens
The basic aim of this research is to uncover the role of cultural activities, especially those related to music and cinema, situated in the urban time-space, in the quest for identity by young adults (aged 19-25) as it is expressed in their life-style. The fieldwork area is the locality of Paleo Phaliro in Athens which is a middle-class area of low concentration of cultural spaces especially in comparison to the nearby city centre. The conceptual framework introduces elements of cultural studies and social anthropology into cultural geography focusing on the agency - structure interrelationship. The direct type of connection between theory and fieldwork, mainly expressed through differentiations (contradictions), led to an emphasis on qualitative analysis, and particularly to the use of multiple case studies which was methodologically translated into structured indepth interviews and semi-structured diaries. The perceptions and actions of young adults show that common elements exist, which, although they focus on consumption and on the individual, also involve active participation in groups. Their musical and cinematic preferences show a tendency towards the global, which co-exists with an attachment to the locality. Their life-attitudes indicate a rejection of routinisation that constitutes the basis of the reaction to a stereotype of action, which is mainly imposed by the media, and secondarily by the family and the school. This contradictory process, which is situated in a context of plurality of times, spaces and cultures, also involves a plurality of cultural identities. The attitudes of the present are important for the future, especially for young adults in an area, and a city, with an ageing population. The primacy of music, in a global world where the impact of artistic activities is slowly recognised, is a factor of hope regarding the cultural aspect of the European unification.