9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN30 Youth and Generation

2009-09-05 13:30:00 2009-09-05 15:00:00 Saturday, 5 September 13:30 - 15:00 Generation Theory Building II, Auditório B2.03

Networked Youth: generational representation and User Generated Contents in Italy

The aim of this paper is to present results of an ongoing research project about how teenagers generate generational narratives starting from mass media culture on the networked space (Edmunds and Turner 2005, Kazys 2008, Boyd 2009).
Weblogs, and the whole web 2.0, seems to be a viable place where to observe if and how generational discourses emerge, and if they may arise around specific media-contents or media-topic able to trigger the reflexive process.
Twenty first century youth cannot be represented as a passive media audience anymore but rather native active audience. Today media products seem to be a common element of everyday experience and youth are able to reshape media to communicate their own personal meanings (Jenkins 2008).
Using digital media widely available over the Internet youth are today remix, create and share a huge amount of digital narratives that are for the first time persistent, searchable, replicable and addressed to an invisible audience. By doing that generation Y give to researchers an enormous amount of data that can be analyzed with standard content analysis qualitative or quantitative techniques.
The research team developed software aimed to scan and retrieve user generated content from some of the major services that allows users to upload and share their own content. Using as starting keywords several media products that have been identified as "generational" from the teenagers, the research group investigated how those media products have been introduced in personal narrations, what's their role and how personal perception is shaped by media representation.
The main goal of the research project we are discussing here is to understand if and how media products (e.g. novels, movies, TV shows) affect the wide process leading to the creation of a shared set of meanings and sense of belonging, what called generational "we sense". The research will observe not only how youth perceive their media representation but at the same time will observe of youth are able to use those representation as elements for their own personal narration.