Doctoral thesis

Internetgenerationen bit för bit : Representationer av IT och ungdom i ett informationssamhälle

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Publication Details

Subtitle: Representationer av IT och ungdom i ett informationssamhälle

Author list: Zimic, Sheila

Publisher: Mittuniversitetet

Place: Sundsvall

Publication year: 2014

ISBN: 978-91-87557-61-3


Abstract

The aim of this thesis is to gain a deeper understanding in relation to the construction of a ‘Net Generation’. With regards to the idea of an information society, technologies and young people are given certain positions, which are not in any sense natural but are socially constructed. This thesis explores these socially given meanings and shows what types of meanings are prioritized and legitimized. The exploration is conducted by examining, both externally and internally, given meanings of a generation identity. The external (nominal identification) in this study is understood as the construction of an abstract user and is studied by means of academic texts concerning the ‘Net Generation’. The internal (virtual identification) involves young people’s construction of their generation identity and is studied by means of collage. The collages are used to understand how the young participants position themselves in contemporary society and how they, as concrete users, articulate their relationship with information technologies.

The findings show that the ‘type of behavior’ which is articulated in the signifying practice of the construction of the abstract user, ‘Net Generation’, reduces users and technology to a marketing / economical discourse. In addition the idea of the abstract user implies that all users have the same possibilities to achieve ‘success’ in the information society, by being active ‘prosumers’. The concrete users articulate that they feel stressed and pressured in relation to all the choices that they are expected to make. In this sense, the participants do not articulate the (economical) interests as assumed for the ‘Net Generation’, but, rather articulate interests to play, to have a hobby and be social when using information technologies.

What this thesis thus proposes, is to critically explore the ‘taken for granted’ notions of a technological order in society as pertaining to young people. Only if we understand how socially given meaning is constructed can we break loose from the temporarily prioritized values to which the position of technology and users are fixed.


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