Research Areas:

#Research Project

beYOND: Young People Negotiating Difference in cON/FFlating Spaces

Funded by: FWF
Principal Investigator: Tabea Bork-Hüffer
Co-Author: Katja Kaufmann
Research Associates: Belinda Mahlknecht, Andrea Markl
Project Period: 2021–2025

The FWF-project beYOND uses an innovative multi-method approach to accompany young people in negotiating abundant sexual and gender identities in entangled online-offline everyday spheres. Therewith the interdisciplinary project team of geographers and communication scholars seeks to contribute to a better understanding of social exclusion and inclusion processes in the digital age.

Identities are not fixed, but are constantly negotiated. And they are diverse. Social notions of gender roles, sexuality, language, class, appearance, and attribution of ethnicity play into their construction process. Identity negotiation and attribution are strongly connected with social processes of exclusion and inclusion and thus with both social cohesion and conflict. The technologies and media relevant in this process are continuously changing due to technological innovations and new developments and their very different social appropriations.

Digital technologies and media are an integral part of young people’s everyday lives. They have become central to their negotiations of their identities just as they have for the formation of their opinions, knowledge, values, and relations. Although technologies open up new opportunities for experimentation, learning, information and socializing, they have similarly been found to be spaces of tantalizing peer pressure, exclusion, and bullying, sometimes leading to violence, with severely detrimental effects to young people’s mental health, self-confidence and identity building. Furthermore, digital spaces in which such identity negotiations take place are by no means separate from offline everyday life, but are inextricably entangled with it, which makes the negotiation of abundant sexual and gender identities even more contested and the young people involved often more vulnerable.

The investigation of such complex social processes of identity negotiation is therefore pursued by beYOND with a multi-method and longitudinal approach, which uses different qualitative, mobile and digital methods to gain new insights into the complex offline-online everyday spaces of young people. The project team compares identity negotiations of young people in different European regions through time.


Bork-Hüffer, T., Mahlknecht, B., & K. Kaufmann (2020): (Cyber)Bullying in schools – when bullying stretches across cON/FFlating spaces. In: Children’s Geographies, DOI: 10.1080/14733285.2020.1784850.

Bork-Hüffer, T., Mahlknecht, B., & Markl, A. (2020): Kollektivität in und durch cON/FFlating spaces: 8 Thesen zu Verschränkungen, multiplen Historizitäten und Intra-Aktionen in sozio-materiell-technologischen (Alltags-)Räumen. In: Zeitschrift für Kultur- und Kollektivwissenschaften.

Bork-Hüffer, T., Mahlknecht, B. & Kaufmann, K. (2020). Bullying in cON/FFlating Spaces – Why a ‘Space’ Perspective Matters for Understanding Young People’s Socio-Material-Technological Experiences and Practices of Bullying. Long version of paper accepted at AoIR 2020: The 21st Annual Conference of the Association of Internet Researchers.

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© 2021
Research Group Transient Spaces & Societies

Geographisches Institut Innsbruck
Innrain 52, 6020 Innsbruck



Transient Spaces and Societies
Transient Spaces and Societies