Identity
 

Editor: David Buckingham

Summary of Volume: What does it mean to grow up as a young person in a world saturated with digital media? How are youth identities currently being defined, and redefined, through young people’s engagements with technology? What are the implications of these media for their experiences as learners, citizens and consumers, and as members of broader social groupings and communities? This volume addresses the consequences of digital media for young people’s sense of self and others, and for their involvement in familial, recreational, educational and civic activities. It explores how young people use these media to interact with each other and with unknown (and potentially global) audiences; and the implications of these interactions for the development of individual and social identities. It considers how young people are using digital media to share their ideas and creative productions, and to participate in networks that are small and large, local and global, intimate and anonymous. It looks at the emergence of new genres and forms of communication and self-expression, from SMS and instant messaging to home-pages, blogs and social networking sites. To what extent do these media offer genuinely new forms of engagement, interaction and communication for young people? What are the obstacles to full participation, and how might they be overcome?

Volume Chapter Summaries and Authors:

"Imaging, Keyboarding, and Posting Identities:  Young People and New Technologies" 
Sandra Weber
An overview piece addressing broad issues about young people and technology. This piece usefully ‘samples’ a range of practices (homepages, online discussions, texting) that will be explored in more detail in some of the chapters that follow. 


"Girls Online: New Forms of Girl Power or the Disappearance of Feminism?"  
Rebekah Willett
Piece focuses on gender, and in quite a thought-provoking way; but it also raises broader issues about how we conceive of identity, and the value of a ‘structure/agency’ paradigm.


"The Generational Divide: Technological Exoticism and Adult Construction of Online Youth Identity" 
Susan C. Herring
A sharp and critical piece about adults’ constructions of young people as users of technology, and the notion of a ‘generational divide’.


"The Public Building of Self: Adolescent Expression on the Internet" 
Susannah Stern, Ph.D
Article about home pages and blogs (and IM and social networking) that usefully raises broader issues about the construction of self online.


"Mobile Identity:  Young Danes’, identity, and mobile communication media" 
Gitte Stald
Explores mobile phones raising some useful broader points, for example about ‘presence’, and ‘logging’.
 

"Why Teens ♥ MySpace: The Role of Digital Publics in Youth Culture" 
danah boyd
This is quite a specific case study, raising interesting broader questions about public space and digital space.


"Leisure Is Hard Work: Digital Practices and Future Competencies" 
Kirsten Drotner
Looking at the implications of young people’s out-of-school digital cultures for what happens in school, as well as engaging with broader arguments about the ‘information society’.


"Digital Media and the Dialectics of Youth Participation" 
Shelley Goldman, Meghan McDermott, and Angela Booker
Article focuses on digital media production in out-of-school settings, so this usefully complements Dronter’s questions about school. It makes a case for the importance of this kind of work, while challenging some of the more celebratory assumptions that tend to circulate in this area.

 

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