8 May 2016

New book series: Connected Youth and Digital Futures

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Building on research supported by the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning initiative, New York University Press launches Connected Youth and Digital Futures, a new series that explores young people’s day-to-day lives and futures.

This series offers books – available free online – that describe the ways that the day-to-day lives and futures of young people are being reconfigured at the intersection of civil and political reform, transformation in employment and education, and the growing presence of digital technologies across all domains of social and personal life.

(Read this short piece by Julian Sefton-Green on DMLCentral for more background on the initiative.)

The first two books are:

By Any Media Necessary The New Youth Activism
by Henry Jenkins, Sangita Shresthova, Liana Gamber-Thompson, Neta Kligler-Vilenchik, Arely Zimmerman
There is a widespread perception that the foundations of American democracy are dysfunctional, public trust in core institutions is eroding, and little is likely to emerge from traditional politics that will shift those conditions. Youth are often seen as emblematic of this crisis—frequently represented as uninterested in political life, ill-informed about current-affairs, and unwilling to register and vote. By Any Media Necessary offers a profoundly different picture of contemporary American youth. Young men and women are tapping into the potential of new forms of communication such as social media platforms, spreadable videos and memes, remixing the language of popular culture, and seeking to bring about political change—by any media necessary. In a series of case studies covering a diverse range of organizations, networks, and movements involving young people in the political process—from the Harry Potter Alliance which fights for human rights in the name of the popular fantasy franchise to immigration rights advocates using superheroes to dramatize their struggles—By Any Media Necessary examines the civic imagination at work. Before the world can change, people need the ability to imagine what alternatives might look like and identify paths by which change can be achieved. Exploring new forms of political activities and identities emerging from the practice of participatory culture, By Any Media Necessary reveals how these shifts in communication have unleashed a new political dynamism in American youth.

The Class Living and Learning in the Digital Age
by Sonia Livingstone, Julian Sefton-Green
Do today’s youth have more opportunities than their parents? As they build their own social and digital networks, does that offer new routes to learning and friendship? How do they navigate the meaning of education in a digitally connected but fiercely competitive, highly individualized world? Based upon fieldwork at an ordinary London school, The Class examines young people’s experiences of growing up and learning in a digital world. In this original and engaging study, Livingstone and Sefton-Green explore youth values, teenagers’ perspectives on their futures, and their tactics for facing the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. The authors follow the students as they move across their different social worlds—in school, at home, and with their friends, engaging in a range of activities from video games to drama clubs and music lessons. By portraying the texture of the students’ everyday lives, The Class seeks to understand how the structures of social class and cultural capital shape the development of personal interests, relationships and autonomy. Providing insights into how young people’s social, digital, and learning networks enable or disempower them, Livingstone and Sefton-Green reveal that the experience of disconnections and blocked pathways is often more common than that of connections and new opportunities.

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