by Helena Vetorazo, Ph.D. student in Social Sciences in Education at University of Campinas (UNICAMP); Member of BRaS Research Group Social Media Studies.

Reviewed by Matheus Lucas Hebling

The emergence of the information society in the second half of the 20th century and the widespread dissemination of communication and information technologies (ICTs) in the first half of the 21st century, imposed new rhythms on the institutions, reached the intimate constitution of the subjects, and transformed irreversibly the models of social interaction. Although traditional structures continue to guarantee the support of hierarchies and social rules, they no longer meet the desires of social subjects who are sometimes disoriented amid the turmoil of uncertainty that marks contemporary societies.

For Enlightenment thinkers, 17th and 18th centuries, the spread of access to information would lead to increased control over the social world and the natural world, and “this control would be the key to human happiness” (GIDDENS, 1995, p.92 ). Otherwise, the access to information promoted by the dissemination of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) dissolved the subject of enlightenment – centered on reason and supposedly crystallized identity – reaffirming him as a reflective subject (GIDDENS, 1995) who organizes and gives meaning to his self-identity acting in complex interaction frames that lead him to move in the physical and virtual spaces.

In a context of uncertainties and marked by the new rhythms imposed by the pandemic COVID19 the school experiences a moment of turbulence that intensifies in an increasingly complex, fragmented, and accelerated space (GIDDENS, 2002; SENNET, 2004), in which its actors – teachers, coordinators, principals – insist on understanding the virtual space as the distant place of the school space, turning only to entertainment.

The new models of interaction do not require a break from the traditional structures that organize the school, but impose an immediate transformation of its practices so that it is possible to reconcile youth practices with school practices.

n this scenario of high reflexivity, three needs are central. The first need: to know the uses that new generations make of technologies in their common practices; the second need: map the paths and identify the repertoires that are produced in these practices; the third need: to identify what the school, through its actors, can learn from youth repertoires.

Research in progress at the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), in the area of Social Sciences in Education, has sought to know and analyze these three elements, based on the assumption that there are imbrications between the repertoires and youth practices in virtual space and physical space, especially in the school environment. The repertoires concern the values, rules, and ways of acting (TILLY, 1964; 1978) that are modulated by the actors through the creativity and improvisation that are manifested in the paths (MAGNANI, 2005) where interactions occur.

When following the actors (LATOUR, 2005) in the physical space and the virtual space, the first data reveal that the permanence of young students in social networks on the Facebook and WhatsApp platforms occurs strongly in the pages and groups about hip-hop movement, dances funk, skate, football, but there is also interest in themes related to gender identities and roles, feminism, machismo, violence against women, homophobia, LGBTQIA + movements. The young students who participate in this investigation, define these groups as “a place of the tour”. Rolê is a term traditionally used by young people from the outskirts of the city of São Paulo to talk about the displacements they make around the city (CALDEIRA, 2014). On Facebook, students, boys, and girls, also participate in groups they call “forbidden groups”, in these groups the subjects revolve around sexualities and their practices, eroticism, and sexual fantasies. Groups are private and group entry is only possible by invitation from a veteran member, followed by a questionnaire.

On WhatsApp, the investigation takes place in three groups: the student union group; the skateboard group, and the hookah group. In the skateboard and hookah groups, girls and boys often face each other, disputes that theoretically bring together only people over 18 to combine weekly meetings at the tobacconist located in the central region of the city. Brazilian law prevents the sale of products that may cause physical or psychological dependence in children under 18, so authorization to research this group was one of the most complicated to obtain. The group brings together about 150 people, among them about 60 young students who have not yet reached the age of majority but who manipulate their identities to participate in the group. Finally, the group of rolezeiros, the focus of this group is to organize parties and look for places where the parties take place – funk balls, raves, sufferings. Most of these parties also impose age limits. A funk dance called “prohibidão” that was divulged in the group imposed the age limit of 21 years for the girls and the boys.

The current phase of the research is the analysis of information from the field. As partial results we have: first, the presence of young people on digital social networks is marked by a strong manipulation of their identities, which leads the analyzes for a dialogue with the studies of Erving Goffman on face-to-face interactions (GOFFMAN, 2002); second, the repertoires built on digital paths interfere with youth identities and reverberate in the school environment, causing a tear in traditional school practices.

Although any attempt at generalization is dangerous for the understanding of social interactions mediated by technologies, the research has revealed that the current crisis in the school is linked to its attempt to reproduce norms, values, and traditional practices in notorious discrepancy with the high reflexivity of the actors and contemporary institutions.

More on

GIDDENS, Anthony. A vida numa sociedade pós-tradicional. In: Modernização reflexiva. São Paulo: Unesp, 1995.

GIDDENS, Anthony. Modernidade e identidade. Rio de Janeiro: Jorge Zahar Editor, 2002.

GOFFMAN, Erving. A representação do eu na vida cotidiana. Petropólis: Vozes, 2002.

SENNET, R. A corrosão do caráter: conseqüências pessoais do trabalho no novo capitalismo. Rio de Janeiro/São Paulo: Record, 2004.

TILLY, Charles. The vendée. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1964.

TYLLI, Charles. From mobilization to revolution. Nova York: Random House, 1978

Helena Vetorazo (2021) "In Networks and Schools: Youth Interactions Rebuilding Repertoires". Brazilian Research and Studies Blog. ISSN 2701-4924. Vol. 2 Num. 1. available at: https://bras-center.com/in-networks-and-schools-youth-interactions-rebuilding-repertoires/, accessed on: April 22, 2021.