WP157 Gangs on YouTube: Localism, Spanish/English variation and music fandom
Recent work on sociolinguistic variation has examined the role of both the mass media and the hip-hop/rap genre in various locales.? Attention has increasingly focused on YouTube, where users post videos in what serves as a call which subsequently elicits responses either in video format or as text commentary, producing a call-response format that allows for the simultaneous investigation of language, metalanguage, and their relationships to space and place.? Focusing on YouTube videos representing rap music that claims association with the California gangs Norte?os and Sure?os (Mendoza-Denton 2008), this paper draws on discussions of localism and the politics of territory in the constitution of subaltern California dialects, analyzing how stylistic variation and dimensions of proficiency in Spanish acquire a symbolic, localistic dimension.? Hemispheric localism is projected onto the hemispheric political stage, and young people involved in Norte and Sur become political analysts (and actors), organizing their experience through the lens of their participation in these groups, synthesizing their understanding of the larger processes of race, language, capital structures, and global power relations.