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Experiencing the Digital: Young People, Gender, and Representation

Jaynes, Victoria Susan (2018) Experiencing the Digital: Young People, Gender, and Representation. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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VJaynes E- thesis 200346340 PhD Thesis July 2018 .pdf - Final eThesis - complete (pdf)
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This doctoral study explores young people’s everyday gendered experiences of the digital. For this research, I apply an interdisciplinary theoretical framework combining feminist approaches within media and communications studies (Van Zoonen 1994; Gill, 2007a), social theory (Ahmed, 2004; Probyn, 2004a; Wetherell, 2012), and science and technology studies (Barad, 2003; Van House, 2011a). This interdisciplinary lens takes into account the work that representations do, how experiences of identity are embodied, and the articulation and negotiation of the digital in everyday life. This perspective informed a methodological approach which enabled a nuanced engagement with the complex interplay between material negotiations of gender, visual representations and digital technologies as these occur in everyday life. In this research, I aim to consider these multiple aspects of young people’s experiences of the digital, whilst critically engaging with adults’ assumptions of these experiences. Ethnographic fieldwork involved collaboration with two youth centres in the UK with young people aged between fifteen and eighteen. The methodology combined participant observation, semi-structured interviews and focus group conversations. Fieldwork took place over an eight month period in 2016, and involved a total of twenty-seven research participants, including three youth workers and twenty-four young people. Comprising young people across the two centres, eight participants were boys and sixteen were girls. This research considers how adults and young people felt about the digital, both personally and in terms of professional practice; how embodied experiences of gender informed everyday negotiations of the digital; and the important role of representational practices in the lives of participants. This research found that youth workers anxieties towards the digital were informed by lived experiences of the pressures and boundaries that shaped professional practice, despite ambivalence among young people towards digital technologies. The application of an interdisciplinary theoretical perspective found that everyday experiences of the digital were gendered, for example, through representational practices where the body, representation and the digital were negotiated.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Gender, representation, young people, embodied identity, digital media
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Media and Communication (Leeds)
Depositing User: Dr Victoria S Jaynes
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2018 11:53
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2018 11:53
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/22118

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