chapter  9
25 Pages

Dispositions

In this chapter, I will focus on the dispositions that young men carry with them into the situations described in the previous chapter. These dispositions play a role in the type of positions they are able to claim and get offered when interacting with others. Through positioning, young men reveal what kind of cultural repertoire they have developed. However, positioning is not just a matter of what kind of position someone would like to claim, but also what kinds of positions they get offered by others. Learning a cultural repertoire requires interacting with people who are familiar with the repertoire and are considered core practitioners of the repertoire. If these core practitioners are not convinced that a young man is an insider, he will not be able to claim a particular position. The dispositions of a young man are important for whether he will even be able to make claims to a certain position. For instance, Black and Coloured young men living in the suburbs had generally incorporated suburban repertoires to perfection. Compared to White young men, they had to be a lot more convincing in their interactional styles in order to convince White residents in the suburbs about their position as insiders. Whereas some White young men spoke with township slang and wore clothes that were fashionable in the townships without being considered as someone with a township repertoire, Black and Coloured young men were unable to send such mixed messages without running the risk of being seen as gangsters by people living in the suburbs.