Andres Lombana Bermudez Dissertation-in-Progress Crossing New Worlds: New Media Practices and Assimilation Trajectories of Latino/Hispanic Immigrant Youth Growing-up in Central Texas. December 7, 2014 Chapter II
0. Introduction The experience of immigration is overall a family affair. Family dynamics, relationships, and resources are essential to the immigrant youth process of assimilation. They shape many of the assimilation outcomes across multiple dimensions such as language, culture, socioeconomics, and education. Hence, researching the context of the family is crucial for understanding how the interaction between individual and structural factors shape different trajectories of assimilation, various forms of acculturation, and particular repertoires of new media practices.
I have divided this chapter in two major sections. In the first, I situate the five families of our study in relation to an assimilation process that is multidimensional and uneven. After introducing the five working class Latino/Hispanic immigrant families with a series of short profiles, I discuss the cultural dimension of the process of assimilation and highlight its importance in shaping immigrant family dynamics. Then I address the general characteristics of the Latino/Hispanic families that have been studied by researchers in the U.S., particularly their use of language and media technologies. In the second section, I analyze the five different family contexts according to their resources and parenting styles, map their domestic media environments, and try to describe the agency that immigrant youth exercised in these contexts and its outcomes in relation to the process of assimilation. In order to examine youths’ agency I focus in the activities they developed through their engagement with the new media tools and networks they accessed at their homes. Particularly, my analysis focuses on three media practices they developed using new media technologies (homework, media consumption, and media production) and two of the new media skills they acquired (distributed cognition and transmedia navigation).
1. Immigrant Families Because immigration is a family affair, the process of assimilation cannot be understood without looking at the context of the home. Especially for children and youth, resources and relationships acquired, mobilized, and developed at home shape their assimilation trajectories. It is precisely within the familial context where researchers have started to analyze the immigration process as an intergenerational one in where structural and contextual factors of the host society interact with internal individual characteristics. Family composition, parental resources, values, language, and sociocultural practices, for instance, are some of the individual factors that have been measured across several assimilation studies. (Portes & Zhou 1993; Rumbaut 1996; Zhou 1997; Portes & Rumbaut 2001; Kasinitz et al. 2008; Alba and Nee 2003; Alba et al. 2011) While structural factors emerge from the social, geography, cultural, and economic macro contexts, individual-level factors remain in micro contexts such as the one of the family.
Studying the family, household, or home, has been useful for understanding the individual and familial transformations that occur as immigrants incorporate to the new country. Focusing in this context as a unit of analysis, immigration scholars have been able to reveal some of the complexities of the process of assimilation to a new society and the multiple changes that are experienced in terms of gender roles, family relationships, language, and cultural norms. (Chávez 1985; Hondagneu-Sotelo 1999; Pessar 1982; Hondagneu-Sotelo 1994; Kibria 1993; Menjivar 2000; Velez-Ibañez and Greenberg 1992) While some researchers have privileged the study of adult’s relationships and functions within the immigrant family (Donato 1993; Hirsch 1999; Hondagneu-Sotelo 1994, 1999; Kibria 1993; Menjivar 2000; Tienda and Booth 1991), others have focused their analysis in the study of the children and youth. For instance, researchers have studied the relationships between parents and children in the processes of language socialization at home (e.g., Baquedano-López 1998; Zentella 1997, Orellana 2009); the impact of the immigrant children’s educational experiences in family life (e.g., Delgado-Gaitan 1992; Valdés 1996); children and youth' media usage (Katz 2014; Moran 2011); and the relationship between children’s cultural assimilation, identity development, and psychological well-being (e.g., Suárez-Orozco and Suárez-Orozco 2001). Across several longitudinal studies, assimilation scholars have also analyzed youth trajectories of incorporation, especially of the "new second generation," focusing on large-scale social patterns, parental resources, and the long term outcomes of immigrant youth assimilation process (Rumbaut 1996; Zhou 1997; Portes & Rumbaut 2001; Kasinitz et al. 2008). Immigrant youth experiences are heterogeneous and as diverse as their family socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds and their contexts of reception. Family dynamics, parenting styles, modes of incorporation, and the resources that immigrant parents have brought with them and have cultivated in the new country, shape multiple dimensions of children and youth assimilation process. Because not all immigrants start their assimilation trajectories with the same individual and structural factors, their social mobility and cultural participation needs to be understood intergenerationally according to their particular circumstances. This is especially relevant when analyzing the pathways of immigrants from Latin America and Mexico because they come from different backgrounds and arrive in diverse contexts of reception. Given the nature of their journeys and the social inequalities of their countries of origin, many of the so-called Latino/Hispanic immigrants arrive in the U.S. with low educational attainment and few economic resources. Hence, it could be said that they start their immigrant assimilation trajectories from a position of disadvantage. In the case of the Mexican immigrants who have arrived to the U.S. during the last four decades, for instance, it is very clear that the majority of them came to work in menial jobs. Data from 2009 showed that Mexican immigrants are overwhelmingly represented in jobs that are low skilled, including construction, transportation, and service occupations (Brick et al. 2011). Furthermore, compared with other immigrants, Mexicans have the lowest levels of formal education. According to a report from 2011, 65% of Mexican immigrants 25 and older have less than a high school degree compared to 32% of all other foreign-born adults. (Brick et al. 2011). 1.1. An Intergenerational Voyage: The Movements of Five Families with Mexican Origin. "To be able to work more, to live more comfortably than in Mexico, mostly that’s why we moved here. There I didn’t have – there is work but they don’t pay much, there isn’t too much money, that’s why I came." (Mr. Florez, Miguel's Father) Gabriela(14), Inara(19), Miguel (14), Antonio (17), and Sergio (18) were all members of immigrant families with Mexican origin. All of their parents migrated to Texas in search of economic opportunities and with the goal of becoming part of the U.S. labor force and the dream of improving their lives. Given the few resources they brought, and the market demand for low skilled labor, all these immigrant families started their assimilation trajectories in the U.S. by being incorporated to the working-class. At the moment of our fieldwork, all of these families were continuing their assimilation process, moving not only geographically, but also culturally, economically and socially. Settled up in the north of Austin metropolitan area, all these parents and children lived in an ethnically and racially diverse suburban area that had both low middle and working class households. All the children had been attending public schools in the U.S., and with the exception of two families, both parents were employed and contributed with their income to the households. As each of the journeys of these immigrant families reveal, they had advanced in their process of assimilation across multiple dimensions according to the different social, economic, cultural, technological, and human resources they had brought, cultivated, and mobilized. Their assimilation process has been uneven and multidirectional, and different members of the families, in particularly youths, had assimilated faster than adults across the cultural and linguistic dimension. Through a series of family profiles I will try to provide a concise picture of the voyages that each of the subjects from this study, and their parents, has been experiencing during their migration. Movement is an essential feature of immigration, and both youth and their parents experience it at different paces, with different degrees of agency, and with different outcomes. The family profiles trace their movements across space, time, culture, and social class, and are intended to introduce the unique characteristics of the family contexts where Gabriela, Inara, Miguel, Antonio, and Sergio grew up. Although they are not intended to be comprehensive, the profiles outline the families' assimilation trajectories, and highlight some of the most important structural and personal factors that have shaped the incorporation of these Latino/Hispanic youths to the U.S. Despite showing the heterogeneity of these journeys, the profiles are also intended to reveal some common patterns, especially in relation to the lack of resources brought by the parents at the moment of entering the U.S. All of these families were assimilating to the new country in complex and uneven ways, but only one of them, the one of Gabriela, was in route of transitioning to the American middle class. The Aguirre Family (Inara del Carmen Aguirre) Mr. and Ms. Aguirre moved to the U.S. thirty years ago from a rural town in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila, in search of economic opportunities. With fair educational attainment (both had graduated from high school), little knowledge of English, and few material resources, they first settled up in Houston and were able to start working in menial jobs and raising a family. Mr. Aguirre worked as a gardener mowing lawns in middle class suburban houses, while his wife stayed at home taking care of their two U.S. born sons and eventually found opportunities doing low skill jobs as a housekeeper. One year after Inara was born in 1993, the whole family moved to Austin as Mr. Aguirre was looking for ways of starting his own landscaping business in a smaller city. This movement helped the family to continue advancing their assimilation process to the U.S. working class, and moving upwardly in socioeconomic terms. The two parents had improved their English skills, became U.S residents, and the three children were enrolled in U.S. public schools. Although the two older male brothers graduated from high school and dropped out local community college, the younger, Inara, was about to finish high school and wanted to study fashion design. In Austin, Mr. Aguirre worked for the City in the maintenance department and had managed to grow a landscaping enterprise where he employed his two older sons. Released from the tasks of child rearing, Ms Aguirre enrolled in ESL classes and obtained an associate degree as a nurse's assistant. After living in a neighborhood closer to downtown area for nine years (Muller), the family moved to the northwest part of the city in what used to be the suburbs, and lived in an ample old suburban house Mr. Aguirre bought. As the two older sons became independent and found ways of renting their own places, only Inara continued to live in the house with her two parents. Spanish was the spoken language at home, and the media domestic environment was fair and distributed across the bedrooms and the living room. Besides having lived in Houston for twelve years and in Austin for eighteen, the Aguirre family had cultivated their transnational resources and maintained their connections with their extended family in Mexico. They visited their hometown in Coahuila periodically for vacations, received family guests from Mexico in their house in Austin during holidays, and allowed their children to live with their grandmother in Mexico during several summers. The Chapa Family (Antonio) From a rural town in the state of San Luis Potosi, northern Mexico, the Chapa family migrated to Central Texas 20 years ago in the search of safety and economic opportunities. Both parents brought with them few human and economic resources. They did not speak English and their literacy level in Spanish was low since they had only completed elementary school in Mexico. They immigration process happened in a stepwise manner. First, Mr. Chapa migrated to Dallas, started to work in the informal construction sector, and rented a house. Two years later, Ms. Chapa and Maria, the older children, reunited with him. While Mr. Chapa worked long hours taking several construction jobs, Ms. Chapa took care of the house and Maria. After a couple of years living in Dallas and saving money, they decided to move to Austin, a city that according to Mr. Chapa was calmer, smaller, and easier to navigate. In Austin, the Chapa family continued their process of assimilation and expanded its members with two U.S. born children (Antonio, the one of the middle, and Jose, the youngest). Parents kept working hard in low skill jobs and learned basic English skills through their interactions at work and with the help of their children who acted as translators. After living in a small house in the north west of the city, the family moved to an old suburban house that Mr. Chapa was able to buy. Slowly, the family continued assimilating to the U.S. working class and moving upwardly. The three children were fluent in English and went to elementary, middle, and high school. Maria graduated from FHS two years ago, Antonio finished last year, and Jose is in his freshman year. Mr Chapa became a U.S. citizen and continued working in construction and Ms. Chapa obtained a green card and started to work as a janitor in a cleaning service company. Although Spanish was the spoken language at home, English was also practiced by children through their multiple interactions with the new media tools and networks they could access at the household. Although their home media environment was not rich, it was fair and played a central role in both the cultural assimilation to the U.S and the maintenance of contact with the Mexican and Hispanic/Latino cultures. Despite the fact that the Chapa family was able to make periodical visits to their home town in San Luis Potosi in years previous to the economic crisis and the increasing narco violence in northern Mexico, the hardship of recent years have limited their availability to travel back to their country of origin and cultivate their transnational resources. Martinez Family (Sergio) The Martinez family journey is a story of separations and reunions, movements back and forth between Mexico and the U.S., Texas and California. From a rural town in the state of Tamaulipas, northeastern Mexico, Ms. Martinez and her recently Mexican born child (Sergio) moved to the U.S. in search of economic opportunities, safety, and family support. They left in Mexico a divorced father and two older children. As a single mother with a baby, Ms. Martinez settled up in Stockton, California, where her sisters lived, and started a new life. With few economic resources, low levels of education (middle school), and the help of her extended family, Ms. Martinez raised Sergio in California. Thanks to having been born in the U.S., Ms. Martinez had the benefits of being a U.S. citizen (second generation immigrant) even though he had lived most of her life in Mexico. Taking advantage of her citizenship she was able to obtain for Sergio a resident permit and green card. Despite her little knowledge of English, Ms. Martinez found low skilled jobs in the cleaning sector, and worked very hard in order to take care of Sergio. Although her two older sons visited Ms. Martinez in California several times, only the one in the middle, Mario, decided to live with her and lived in Stockton for few years, while the oldest, Julia, decided to settle up in Texas and start a family. Meanwhile, Mr. Martinez, the father, never migrated to the U.S. After fourteen years living in California, Ms. Martinez and Sergio moved to Austin, Texas, in order to reunite with Julia and Mario. Julia had already had three children and lived with his husband in a big and old suburban house in the North East of Austin. Mario, had moved to Texas after dropping out community college in Stockton and had also started to raise a family in a low income suburban household near his sister home. After settling up in Julia's house and customizing a garage as a one master bedroom, Ms. Martinez and Sergio adapted very fast to the life in their new home and city. They found support in Julia and Mario, who, although had low wage jobs and were very busy, lived now very close. Once in Austin, Sergio entered his junior year in high school and Ms. Martinez started to take care of her new home and reconfigured family. She cleaned, cook and helped to raise her grand children, as well as contributed to the home budget with the salary she earned working as a janitor at a church school. The reunification, allowed the family to move upward in their assimilation process and access more social, economic, cultural, and human resources. Although Spanish was the language spoken at home by the adults, English was spoken by children and heard through multiple media devices. Julia worked in the service industry and was fluent in English, and her husband owned a truck and worked in construction. The domestic media environment was fair, with television sets in all the bedrooms and in the living room, satellite television, several videogame consoles, wireless internet connection, an old desktop computer, a high fi stereo, and a telephone landline. The Martinez family did not maintain their transnational connections in Mexico, and Sergio had just visited Tamaulipas once for meeting his father at the age of fourteen years old. The Flores Family (Miguel) From Mexico City, center of Mexico, the Flores family migrated to the U.S. in a stepwise manner and in search of economic and educational opportunities. First, Mr. Flores moved to Austin, Texas, nine years ago, leaving in Mexico City his wife and two younger tween children (Miguel and Marcus). With few economic resources, undocumented, little knowledge of English, and low level of education (middle school), Mr. Flores settled up in the south Austin with the help of his two older brothers who had migrated years before and worked in the service industry. Very quickly Mr. Flores started to work in local restaurants, was able to manage having several jobs as a cook, and saved money. After two years of hard work, Mr. Flores was ready to receive his wife and six years old twin children who traveled from Mexico City undocumented. He rented a mobile house in the north of Austin where the reunited family settled down. Once in Austin, Ms. Flores took care of the house and childrearing, while Mr. Flores continued advancing his career as a cook working in several kitchens and improving his skills. The twin brothers went to public schools, learned English very fast, and advanced to high school. As Mr. Florez increased his income the domestic media environment became richer with several television screens, video game consoles, and a desktop computer. The family modes of transportation became more flexible with two USV cars. The Flores family was moving upward and integrating to the U.S. working class despite their undocumented condition. They also moved geographically within the city of Austin. As the family expanded with two U.S. born children (second generation and U.S citizens), and Miguel and his twin brother finished middle school, Mr. and Ms. Flores decided to move to a bigger mobile house located in the northeastern fringe of Austin. Although Ms. Flores continued to take care of the house and childrearing, Miguel and his twin brother started to help taking care of the younger brothers (5 years old, and 3 years old) so their mother could engage in activities outside the house such as taking English classes in a community program. Given their undocumented condition of many of its members, the Flores family could not visit their extended family in Mexico City and did not maintain transnational resources. The Garcia Family (Gabriela Maria) Mr. and Ms. Garcia migrated to the U.S. from different Latin American countries and met in the U.S. after they have independently settled up. On the one hand, Ms. Garcia came to Austin twenty-three years ago from a rural town in Honduras, a country that faced a political crisis and war conflict. She migrated to the U.S. in search of safety and economic opportunities and brought with some economic resources, little knowledge of English, and low educational attainment (high school degree). On the other, Mr. Garcia moved to Austin twenty years ago from the border city of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, in northeastern Mexico. He brought with him fair economic resources, some knowledge of English language, middle educational attainment (graduated from high school and attended college for a few years) and cultural know how of the U.S. At the moment of his migration, Mr. Garcia had already been back and forth several times between the U.S. and Mexico and had cultivated social resources at both sides of the border. One of his brothers had lived in Austin for several years and helped him to settle up and quickly find a job. Despite not having college degrees, both Ms. and Mr. Garcia have been able to venture into some kind of entrepreneurship leveraging their social resources, especially from other family members who lived in Austin. Mr. Garcia had a managerial position in his own window screen business, and Ms. Garcia worked independently as a personal chef (catering service), a nursing aid, and a housekeeper in an exclusive neighborhood in the south west of the city. The Garcia family was trying to move upward fast and made several efforts to transition to the mainstream middle class. Besides their occupation advancement, the family was in the process of improving its educational achievement. Gabriela (14) and Eva (12), the two U.S. born children (second generation immigrants), were in school advance placement classes and had been constantly pushed by their parents to succeed academically and to pursue a postsecondary education. Thanks to its economic well-being, the family built a rich media domestic environment in a suburban household located in the northeast of the city. Both parents have learned to speak and read English, and although were not totally proficient, tried to communicate in this second language with their children inside the home and to engage in communal media practices. In their efforts to assimilate to the mainstream middle class and foster a nuclear family, Mr. and Ms. Garcia lived in the same household as friends although they were divorced and each had its own room. That unusual configuration made the interactions inside the Garcia family very unique, and Mr. Garcia was the person who not only provided most of the economic, cultural, and human resources, but also the one who was spending more time taking care and monitoring the two girls. Although the social resources of Mr. and Ms. Garcia did not expand transnationally and they did not maintain connections and did not visit their countries of origin, their social ties within the U.S. were fair and expanded across several states. The family frequently enjoyed visiting extended family members in California and Florida, and also received several guests in his house in Austin.
1.2. Cultural Changes Among all the transformations that go along with the process of assimilation to a new country, the ones related to culture are intensively experienced at the family context. The cultural dimension of the process of assimilation alters family dynamics and relationships among its members as they assimilate to the host mainstream dominant culture at different paces. As immigrants confront the challenges of living in a new country they develop particular repertoires of cultural practices such as language and media uses, social norms, consumer preferences, and lifestyles. Family repertoires or assimilation vary according to the social, cultural, economic, and human resources parents have brought, the context of reception, and practical decisions that members of the family take in their everyday life. Languages spoken at home, celebration of ethnic rituals, ethnic media consumption, food traditions and religious practices, for instance, are all part of the cultural repertoires that are developed at the family context and that alter the process of cultural assimilation in complex ways. Adaptation to the host culture, normative rules, system values, and new language could be challenging and stressful for all members of the immigrant family. For children and youth, however, cultural assimilation can be more complicated given the fact that they acculturate faster than their parents as they have exposure to mainstream institutions such as the school, native peer culture, and have more leisure time for engaging in activities related to the new culture such as mainstream media consumption. As children and youth gain more cultural skills, their position and role within the family can change and the differential pace of cultural assimilation between parents and youth can generate tensions within the family. What several social scientists have described as "dissonant acculturation" precisely refers to the way in which different levels of cultural assimilation can create conflicts and behavioral problems within the family as children and youth feel alienated from parents. (Suarez Orozco M. & Suarez-Orozco C. 2001; Hernandez and McGoldrick 1999; Portes & Rumbaut 2001; Rumbaut 2005) In the context of family life, cultural assimilation can have different outcomes, both positive and negative, and influence other dimensions of assimilation such as the economic and social ones. Segmented assimilation scholars, for instance, have theorized and empirically tested the relationship between socioeconomic outcomes and three different types of cultural adaptation. In their typology of intergenerational cultural assimilation, Alejandro Portes and Ruben Rumbaut explained how three different parent-child acculturation styles were aligned with three different pathways of socioeconomic mobility. (1) "Consonant acculturation" is related to the upward socioeconomic assimilation pathway and occurs when parents and children join a process of rapid abandonment of the home language and culture, and together search for integration into the mainstream culture while fostering their family cohesion. This of cultural assimilation occurs in a context of reception of mainstream middle class. (2) The "selective acculturation" type also leads to upward socioeconomic assimilation but a slower pace, as parent and children combine elements of the new and original culture, in a reception context of a co-ethnic community and working class. Parents and children gradually learn the new language and mainstream cultural repertoires, while at the same time retaining their original language and some of their ethnic values and norms. (3) "Dissonant acculturation" is related to downward socioeconomic assimilation and takes place when children learn the English language and adopt mainstream lifestyles faster than their parents in a reception context of racial discrimination and poverty. This process leads to intergenerational conflict and the reversal of roles within the family. Children assume adult responsibilities at an early age and have to act as brokers between their parents and the host culture. According to researchers, in the “dissonant acculturation” intergenerational tensions emerge because children feel embarrassed of their parents as they try to assimilate to the mainstream. (Portes & Rumbaut 2001; Rumbaut 2005) Trajectory Context of Reception Outcomes Acculturation Upward Middle class High education and occupational attainment, Integration into the economy Consonant. Parents and children fully adopt mainstream culture. Monolinguism. Preservation of parental authority Upward Working class and strong co-ethnic communities High education achievement, time-honored integration into the economy through education Selective. Bicultural. Bilingual. Parents and children adopt certain mainstream cultural practices. Preservation of parental authority. Downward Working class and hostile context of reception characterized by discrimination Low educational and occupational achievement Dissonant. Marginalized. Parents do not learn to speak English. Lost of parental authority.
However, despite being an important model for the study of immigrant families, the three different acculturation types described in the theory of segmented assimilation do not take into account the complexity and messiness that happen when cultural transformations are observed on the ground. As other scholars of immigration have pointed out, segmented assimilation theory is too pessimistic and exaggerates the structural factors working against nonwhite immigrants (Alba and Nee 2003; Waters et al. 2010; Kasinitz et al. 2004, 2008). By doing so, the segmented assimilation theory idealizes the relationship between race-ethnicity and poverty, ignoring that immigrants can have social mobility even though they keep their racial and ethnic markers. As social scientists have started to prove through empirical, multi-method, and longitudinal studies, the so called "dissonant acculturation" does not necessary determine a downward process of socioeconomic mobility towards marginalization, but it could also be related to a slow upward movement within the working class. In the longitudinal "New York Second Generation" study, for instance, Kasinitiz and a group of researchers found that children of immigrants growing up in New York City, despite living a context of racial discrimination, poor schools, and the lack of economic opportunities in an hourglass economy with a shrinking middle class, are not only doing better than their parents, but also better than some of their native peers. (Kasinitz et al. 2004, 2008; Waters et al. 2010) According to their findings the different types of acculturation (consonant, dissonant, selective) outlined by Portes & Rumbaut (2010) do not seem to matter much for the socioeconomic outcomes of second-generation immigrants. (Waters et al. 2010) In the case of all the five Latino/Hispanic families from my dissertation study, cultural changes could be described as a mixture of "selective" and "dissonant acculturation". As I intent to reveal through this chapter, as well as through the whole dissertation, the acculturation process of these families and their youth turned out to be more uneven and messier than the one described by segmented assimilation researchers and did not necessary lead towards a downward trajectory. Disparities between the acculturation processes of parents and children were actually quite big and, although they did not generate that much intergenerational tension (at least during the fieldwork period), several reversal roles and brokering activities emerged in all the five families. Cultural transformation, therefore, occurred both a selective and a dissonant manner. Given the low social, human, and economic resources of almost all the parents (the only exception was the Garcia family), all of them confronted acculturation gaps that were especially felt in the use of language and digital media technologies. The socioeconomic outcome of the cultural adaptation, however, was not marginalization despite the dissonance. These families were assimilating socioeconomically to the U.S. working class in the particular reception context of the fastest growing city in Texas and a robust high tech economy that demanded low skilled labor in several services such as construction, cleaning, food, and gardening. In Austin, these families encountered a reception context where some of their original cultural repertoires were already mixed and enrooted in the everyday life of the city in the form of foods (e.g. breakfast tacos, tamales, aguas frescas), language (e.g. Spanish, names of the streets), ethnic media (radio, television, print), and music (e.g. tex-mex, conjunto banda, cumbia). Although their position in this reception context was low given the deep history of subordination of Mexican origin people living in the U.S. southwest territories, it also offered opportunities of adaptation and slow socioeconomic mobility that compared to the ones they would find in their countries of origin, was better in terms of earning capacity, education, safety and access to new media tools and networks. In order to understand the complex and uneven cultural assimilation process that these five immigrant youths have been navigating at the family life context, I will briefly discuss some of the cultural characteristics of the Latino/Hispanic family focusing on the issues of language and digital media use. 1.3. The Latino/Hispanic Family The study of Latino/Hispanic families in the USA has been the topic of a prolific scholarly research since the 1970s. Sociologists, economists, anthropologists, educators, geographers, psychologists and communication scholars have studied the Latino/Hispanic domestic sphere in order to understand immigration, labor, delinquency, teen pregnancy, educational attainment, youth development and media consumption. As a result, an emergent body of knowledge on the cultural characteristics of Latino/Hispanic families has emerged. Relying in quantitative data collected by the U.S. government and other institutions, early studies on Latino/Hispanic families overemphasized their disadvantaged position and fostered the creation of a pathological narrative of a "culture of poverty" and social ill around this segment of the population. As Robin Hardwood et al. state, "Demographic trends have contributed to research emphasizing social ills among Latinos" and have created a bias "towards problem-focused research in studies of Latino children, youth, and families." (22) For instance, one of the long lasting assumptions made by U.S. social scientists was that low academic achievement and failure was directly related to the cultures of Latino/Hispanic families, especially Mexican ones. Such bias positioned these cultures as a deficit and contributed to strengthening ideologies of racial/ethnic superiority and hierarchy (Suarez-Orozco and Suarez-Orozco 1995; Valdez 1996; Villenas and Deyhle 1999). In reaction to that, some scholars made the call for more studies that examined the Latino/Hispanic population in terms of normative growth, development and resilience (Fisher et al. 1998; Garcia Coll et al. 1995). Other scholars turned to critical qualitative methods in order to analyze this population in their specific sociocultural, political, and economical contexts, revealing their cultural strengths, resilience, and agency. Since the 1990s, sociologists and anthropologists in the field of education and youth development have developed various critical qualitative studies about Latino/Hispanic families. Understanding Latino/Hispanic as a heterogeneous group, researchers have started to reveal the diversity of this population and its cultural power in a context of the racial and social inequalities and demand for low skill labor. Ethnographic works have documented the voices and stories of Latinos/Hispanics and provided new insights on their contexts and practices, revealing them as positive, creative, and appropriate. Instead of analyzing the Mexican and Latino/Hispanic culture as a deficit, these researchers focused on its strengths, and explained how cultural traits such as bilingualism, strong family cohesiveness (familismo), and ethnic notions of education (educacion) have become resources to achieve in the U.S. (Suarez Orozco 1995; Delgado-Gaitan and Trueba ; Trueba 1993; Valenzuela & Dornbusch 1994). As researchers have tried to come to terms with the homogenous notion of the Latino/Hispanic population and its heterogeneous reality, they have been able to identify ethnic characteristics that persist across most of the U.S. Latino/Hispanics and are especially salient among the ones with Mexican origin. Although these traits serve to differentiate Latino/Hispanics from the dominant culture, they are not static and remain in constant change as immigrant and host cultures interact, come closer, and influence each other. Familismo (familism), respeto (respect), marianismo (marianism), machismo (machism), and educación (moral education), are some of the most salient values that shape Latino/Hispanic family dynamics, parent-chidlren relationships, and gender roles. Familismo refers to the exitence of a strong family orientation, identification, and cohesiveness in which all the family members feel responsibility and attachment for each other (Baca Zinn 1982; Cortes 1995; Fulligni et al. 1999; Marin 1993; Parra-Cardona et al. 2006). The value of respeto is related to the conformity with strict age and gender roles, the respect towards elders and authority, and can at sometimes involve passivity and lack of questioning (Sabogal et al. 1987; Valdez 1996). Marianismo and machismo, are associated with the specific gender roles that mothers and fathers plays within the family (D’Alonzo and Sharma 2010; Ingoldsby 1991; Jezzini et al. 2008; Opazo, R. M 2008; Paternostro 1998). While the latter emphasizes the mother self-sacrifice and main role in child-rearing, the former refers to the role of the father reinforcing a patriarchal culture. Finally, the value of educación refers to a broader and encompassing notion of education that includes both moral education (being good) and academic attainment. On the one hand, the Hispanic/Latino parents emphasize moral development as they make several efforts for making sure their children "follow the good path of life" (el buen camino) (Azmitia and Brown 2002; Delgado-Gaitan 1992; Sabogal et al. 1987; Reese et al. 1995; Valdez 1996). On the other, researchers have also found out that academic attainment is also part of the value of educación, and, contrary to popular U.S. dominant culture mythologies, Latino/Hispanic parents have higher aspirations for their children. (Henderson 1997, Goldernber & Gallimore, 1995) 1.3.1. Language Researchers have always considered use and proficiency with the language of the host country an indicator of cultural assimilation. In the case of Latino/Hispanic families in the U.S., a robust indicator of their assimilation process is that their members become literate in English. However, as many of the changes that are experienced during this process, linguistic assimilation does not happen in a linear and harmonious way. Instead, assimilation seems to be messier and multidirectional especially when observed in the context of family life. For Latino/Hispanic families, to become proficient in English does not always involve loosing Spanish, and not all family members learn the new language at the same speed. While children and youth usually learn it faster, parents often are slower. In the context of the family, different approaches to the use of language are developed according to the resources parents have brought and the ones they have gained and mobilized in the U.S. While some families become Spanish-only speaking, others decide to engage with both English and Spanish within the home, and still others become English-only speaking families. In the case of the working class immigrant Latino/Hispanic families of our study, all of them have developed an approach that although apparently seems to be the one of Spanish-only homes, when analyzed closely, it turns out to be more bilingual, with both English and Spanish being spoken, listened, written, and read by family members according to different levels of expertise. Despite the media panics about the lack of linguistic assimilation of the Latino/Hispanic population and the spread of ideologies of language purity in the U.S. in where the Spanish language and bilingualism are seen as threats to the national identity, quantitative and qualitative studies continue to reveal that immigrants and native Latino/Hispanics are gaining English proficiency according to their generational status (Portes & Rumbaut 2001; Kasinitz et al. 2008; Alba and Nee 2003; Alba et al. 2011). While foreign born or first-generation Latino/Hispanics tend to be less proficient in English, almost all of the second and third generation U.S. born Latino/Hispanics speak the host language. In a recent survey conducted by Pew Hispanic Center, 92% of second and 96% of third generation Latino/Hispanics considered themselves proficient in English, while only 38% of first generation immigrants reported being able of carrying a conversation in English. (Taylor et al. 2012) However, as the survey also revealed, Latino/Hispanics do also continue to speak their original language and think that future generations should speak it as well. A share of 95% of all the Latino/Hispanic adults (including both foreign born and U.S. natives) said it was important that future generations speak Spanish (Taylor et al. 2012). This evidence, combined with the fact that Spanish has become the most spoken non-English language in the U.S. with more than 37 million speakers (Gonzalez-Barrera and Lopez 2013), gives us clues to understand why the linguistic assimilation at the family context has become more bilingual. As the reception context increases the number of Spanish speakers, and the consumer market, media industries, and even the government, make efforts for targeting Latino/Hispanic population delivering content in both English and Spanish, members of Latino/Hispanic immigrants families can develop a more flexible and mixed approach to the languages spoken at home.
Especially among working class immigrant Latino/Hispanic families with few social, economic, and human resources, the unevenness of linguistic assimilation is noticeable in the way in which youth referred to the English proficiency level of their parents. Because youths have already navigated U.S. elementary and middle schools, have successfully completed English learning language (ELL) classes, were enrolled in regular High School classes, had native peers, and were engaged with U.S. media content, they were all proficient in the host language. Their parents, however, had fewer skills. Antonio, for instance, provided an explanation of the differences in the English skills of his mother and father when describing the languages that were spoken at home. Q: Inside your house, do your parents speak in Spanish or in English? A: In Spanish more -- they know a bit of English but not much (…) My dad knows more English than my mom because he had to take the U.S. citizen test -- you need to learn English for that -- well I think -- I don’t know. To find a job, most of the time he’ll need to know English so he knows a bit of English. He has a thick accent, but he knows it. In the five working class immigrant families of our study, parents did have some understanding of the English language and made efforts to improve their skills. For instance, the mothers of Sergio and Miguel were both enrolled in English classes at a church and a community organization during our year of fieldwork. Inara's mother had also been enrolled in English language classes and attended a community college. Inara’s father, however, had learned English informally. In one interview, Inara explained how his father spoke with an accent because he had not had the opportunity of going to school. She said, "He has a very, very hard accent. I'm like, "You've been living here longer than I have," but then again, he didn't come to school here. He just came to work, like every other Hispanic." Parental English skills were directly related to the resources the family had and the educational opportunities they have been able to grasp either in the U.S. or their home country. In the case of Inara's working class family, the father remained busy doing hard work, managing his own gardening enterprise, and earning an income to support his wife and three children. In contrast, Gabriela's parents, with more resources and time, had been able to acquire English skills through their jobs and social resources. As a working class family transitioning to middle class, Mr. and Ms. Garcia had access to more spaces where they could learn the mainstream culture and practice English with native speakers. Further, they also tried to actively improve their English skills at their home encouraging their children to speak both languages. As Gabriela explained, her house was "like 60% English and 40% Spanish" and all the members of the family tried to speak both languages. Gabriela explained such family dynamic in the following way: "A: My parents speak Spanish to me, but I speak English now, mainly because, like, when I go to my mom I speak English. And she practices her English with me, and so she speaks English to me. And then whenever she gets mad she talks to me in Spanish. But, like, with my dad, he usually talks Spanish to me, but I always talk English back. Like, English became my first language, but I understand Spanish, like, 100%. Q: And I'm assuming they understand English as well? A: Yes, my dad does. My mom, like, you have to say it a couple times sometimes." The linguistic gap between parents and children opened a space for collaboration in where youth actively aided their parents to communicate and to learn the new language. Latino/Hispanic immigrant youths helped their parents doing translation work and became, at different moments and with various frequencies, language and cultural brokers. That is, they acted as translators, interpreters, or paraphrasers, helping their parents to navigate different situations and contexts (Chu 1999; Katz 2014; Orellana 2001; Orellana, et al. 2003; Song 1999; Tse 1995, 1996; Valdés 2002; Vásquez, Pease-Alvarez and Shannon 1994; Valenzuela 1999). Although often the brokering activities took place outside the home, they also happened within the family context. Sergio, for instance, helped her mother both doing translation work and teaching her English. As he explained, "A: My mom can speak English, but not that well. So sometimes she'll need me to be a translator for her. When she goes to a doctor's appointment, if the doctor only speaks English, I'll go with her and translate. So, I'll always try to help her out by understanding her. Sometimes, she asks me to help her learn some English, so I'll try to speak to her in English, like some simple sentences, and she's been learning ever since. Q: Have you tried to teach her? A: Yeah. (...) She comes to me sometimes with how to put words in past tense and future tense, because she's also going to English school on Fridays, and when she needs help, I'll help her out with her homework like she used to help me out with my math homework. Q: That's very nice. How do you feel teaching English? A: I kind of like it, because someone put the idea in my head a couple years back, because they realized I speak English, and when I started speaking Spanish to them, they were amazed at how I speak Spanish and English very fluently." Although given the limitations of our study it is not possible to understand the nuances of the bilingual approach that each of the five immigrant families developed, our data reveals that they combined the use of both languages at home and that they were assimilating to the U.S. However, the uneven reality of their assimilation, clearly expressed in youths' bilingualism, did not seem to marginalize the younger members of these families as the segmented assimilation theorists have sustained. As it will be seen in the analysis of their media and technology use, immigrant Latino/Hispanic parents and their youth were engaged in a process of assimilation that fostered the interaction with both the host and original cultures. 1.3.2. Media Technologies In a rapidly changing high techno-society such as contemporary U.S. the use of media technologies at the family context is one of the factors that makes the process of cultural assimilation more uneven and multidirectional. As the multiplication of media devices and screens inside Latino/Hispanic immigrant households continues to grow, parents and children are able to access, individually, not only different content, in both Spanish and English, but also different social networks. While they interact in a media-rich and networked communication environment, family members can connect to both their original and U.S. cultures according to their personal motivations and orientations. Although their engagement varies according to their social, cultural, human, and technological resources, peer group, age and gender, evidence reveals that Latino/Hispanic families, particularly youth, are becoming more connected to the U.S. culture and society, especially in terms of new media use and pop culture consumption. For instance, all the five immigrant Latino/Hispanic youths from our study lived in working class suburban households with media-rich domestic environments, and had not only access to broadcast mass media such as radio and television, but also to new media networked devices such as computers and videogame consoles that were connected to the Internet. Furthermore, most of these families, with the exception of the ones of Sergio and Miguel, had also access to smart phones and mobile connectivity that adults and youths used across multiple contexts, including the one of the home. Research on the use of media technologies among Latino/Hispanic families has been conducted in the U.S. since 1980s by communication and cultural studies scholars, focusing, in particular, on television. This research has developed along with the increasing availability in the U.S. of Spanish-language television via major outlets such as Univision and Telemundo, and the increasing recognition of the Latino/Hispanics as an important segment of the U.S. consumer market. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, researchers have investigated issues of biculturalism, identity formation, representation, youth development, and audience formation. A common finding across all the studies has been that Latino/Hispanic children tend to watch more television than the ones from other populations and that they consume content in both English and Spanish. (Greenberg et al. 1983; Subervi-Velez 1986; Moran 2011) Researchers have also found that Latino/Hispanic immigrant children are adapting faster to the mainstream pop culture due to their engagement with this medium and their advanced knowledge of the English language (Greenberg et al. 1983; Subervi-Velez 1986; Subervi-Velez & Colsant 1993; Moran 2011). Likewise, communication scholars have demonstrated that immigrant families leverage television to connect to the host cultural environment and the new language (Kim, 1977, 1988; Tan, 1983; Wilkin, Katz, & Ball-Rokeach 2009; Subervi-Velez 1986). Latino/Hispanic parents and their children, therefore, can leverage television viewing as a cultural resource and become more assimilated to the host country, in cultural terms. (Stilling 1997; Subervi-Velez 1986) However, despite the emergent body of research on Latino/Hispanic immigrants’ media use that shows the positive aspects of television in the process of incorporation to the U.S., segmented assimilation researchers have revealed through their longitudinal and intergenerational studies, some negative outcomes of television watching. Drawing on quantitative data, Alejandro Portes and Ruben Rumbaut found that there was correlation between time of media exposure at home and second generation educational attainment and aspirations. As Rumbaut explained in "Paradoxes (And Orthodoxies) of Assimilation" (1997), the available evidence from the "Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study" showed that the role of television as agent of cultural assimilation was negative in relation to "successful" academic outcomes. (Rumbaut 1997) In a very reductionist way, and following a long tradition of "media effects" anxiety, Rumbaut argued that despite having high levels of engagement with television and knowledge of the English language, Latino/Hispanic immigrant children were not assimilating to the high achieving U.S. mainstream dominant culture. Instead, the more time they spent watching television seemed to be correlated with high school and college drop-drop outs, that is, with low educational attainment. Anxieties about Hispanic/Latino excessive media use have not only been common in the analysis of broadcast mass media. In the twenty-first century, Latino/Hispanics high levels of digital media use are also becoming a matter of concern for researchers as new media is increasingly used for entertainment purposes. Ironically, after the fears about Latino/Hispanics lack of computer and Internet access and the popularity of the digital divide discourse in the 1990s, current studies are starting to warn us about the increasing amount of time Latino/Hispanic children spend with new media devices. Researchers from the Kaiser Family Foundation (2010) found out that Latino/Hispanic youth are especially avid adopters of new media and heavy consumers of entertainment, spending about an hour and a half more each day than White youth using their cell phones, iPods and other mobile devices to watch TV and videos, play games, and listen to music. (Rideout, Lauricella, & Wartella 2011) According to the study, Latino/Hispanic youth spend more time than their non-Hispanic white peers with each form of media (TV, movies, video games, music, computer, cell phone) except print (e.g., books, magazines). In contrast to the 8.5 hours per day of media consumption white youth had, Latino/Hispanics spent 13 hours per day. Furthermore, the study also showed that children from households with lower levels of education have increased their exposure to media. Pointing out minority youth high levels of media consumption, researchers argued that the although the digital divide seemed to be closed in terms of access to technology, a wider gap was emerging in terms of meaningful content creation and education. As Vicky Rideout stated in an interview for the New York Times, “instead of closing the achievement gap, they [new media] are widening the time-wasting gap.”(Ritchel 2012) However, although from the macro perspective of quantitative data, Latino/Hispanics are starting to appear as heavy users of new media devices connected to the Internet, disparities in technology access remain, and continue to evolve, shaping young people new media practices. A Pew Hispanic Center report from 2011 revealed greater differences in broadband access between populations. While only 45% of Hispanic/Latino households had broadband Internet access, 65% of White and 52% of Black homes had access to broadband. (Livingston 2011). The same report showed that significant differences in Internet usage persisted between foreign (51%) and native-born Latino/Hispanics (85%), as well as between English language speakers (87%) and Spanish speakers (35%) (Livingston 2011). Controlling variables related to educational attainment, income, and occupation, researchers confirmed that in the case of Latino/Hispanics, both immigrants and natives, there is a strong correlation of material access and usage with educational attainment and income (Fox & Livingston 2007; Livingston, 2010). The quality of technology access at home continues to matter because, given the accelerated rate of planned obsolescence of new media devices, many of the content creation and educational activities are highly dependent on robust access computer power, software, and high Internet connectivity. Beyond the macro perspective of quantitative studies, researchers have also started to examine how do the new media practices of Hispanic/Latino youth look on the ground. Qualitative studies on the new media practices of Latino/Hispanic youth have emerged from the fields of sociolinguistics, youth studies, and digital media and learning. Given the importance of the family and language for Latino/Hispanics youth it is not surprising that several scholars have focused on the analysis of activities at home and the intergenerational family relationships. (Orellana et al. 2003; De La Peña and Orellana 2007; Sánchez and Salazar 2012; Tripp and Herr-Stephenson, 2009; Tripp, 2011; Katz 2010, 2014) On the one hand, scholars have analyzed the role of Latino/Hispanic children as media brokers for their families actively helping their parents to navigate the U.S. environment and mediating their use of technology. (De La Peña and Orellana 2007; Katz 2010, 2014; Sánchez and Salazar 2012) On the other, researchers have looked at how Latino/Hispanic youths negotiate different rules and anxieties in their households in relation to computers and other forms of technology. (Horst, 2009; Tripp, 2011) As these studies confirmed, the qualitative evidence revealed that family dynamics, relationships, and resources shape the new media practices of Latino/Hispanic youth and the skills they are able to acquire. 2. Immigrant Youth Agency in Networked Domestic Environments Besides their time in school and after school program activities, the five working class Latino/Hispanic immigrant youths of our study spent considerable part of their everyday life at the family context. Interestingly, none of them was engaged in street culture. They did not hang out on the streets, parks, or malls, and only in special occasions went to the movie theaters. In contrast, they hanged out at the bedrooms and living rooms of their family households developing a repertoire of cultural and social activities that in many cases involved the use of new media tools and networks. According to the new media domestic environments they had access, their family parenting styles and resources, and their interests and motivations, immigrant youths exercised their own agency at the context of home. By doing so, they developed a range of media practices and acquired new media skills that shaped their process of assimilation to the U.S., especially across the cultural, social, and educational dimensions. 2.1. Parenting Styles and Attitudes toward Technology "We are very busy with the job, and although you might think you’re giving everything to your family, there are certain things you’re not providing." (Mr. Martinez, Sergio's Mother) Immigrant youth new media practices at the family context are greatly shaped by the social, economic, cultural, and human resources of their parents, the family assimilation trajectory, and specific approaches developed towards child-rearing (what is known as parenting styles). As immigrant parents buy new media devices, engage in joint media activities with their children, and monitor (or not) the media uses at home, they practice particular kinds of parenting styles that reflect their aspirations, expectations, and values (Linvingstone 2002; Horst 2009). These styles are not only shaped by the immigrants' original culture and ethnic traditions, but also by the social class the family is assimilating in the host society. In the case of the five Latino/Hispanic immigrant families of our study, all the parents, with the exception of Gabriela's, have brought few resources from Mexico and have rapidly become assimilated to the U.S. working class by working in low-skilled jobs. As part of their assimilation process into a high-tech society and culture, and despite having a low socioeconomic status, these Latino/Hispanic immigrant parents have tried to set up media environments in their households with a range of digital and networked devices that go from television sets to videogame consoles to computers. Media technologies were important for all of these immigrant parents, and they valued them according to their particular imaginaries about education and entertainment, their expectations for their children, several discourses that circulated in the U.S. institutions (e.g. schools, media, consumer market), and few discourses they had been exposed in their countries of origin. The parenting approaches of the five immigrant Latino/Hispanics of our study can be understood according to the two types of child rearing described by Anette Larau in her seminal work Unequal Childhoods (2003). According to Larau, families in the U.S. develop two kinds of parenting styles that are shaped by social class. That is, by parents' income, educational level, and occupation. While middle-class parents develop “concerted cultivation,” working-class and poor parents practice “accomplishment of natural growth”. (Larau 2003) In the former, parents assume greater responsibility in structuring children activities and managing their time, and "deliberately try to stimulate their children’s development and foster their cognitive and social skills" (Larau 2003, 5) In the latter, children are expected to grow up naturally, without the constant monitoring and periodic intervention of parents, have more autonomy and are expected to navigate on their own their relationships with institutions and peers. As Larau demonstrated, the outcome of the two different approaches leads to the transmission of differential advantages to children, being "concerted cultivation" the one that leads towards a position of privilege and a "sense of entitlement." While middle-class children learn to act "as though they had a right to pursue their own individual preferences and to actively manage interactions in institutional settings,” working class children have a "sense of constraint in their interactions in institutional settings" and are "less likely to try to customize interactions to suit their own preferences" (Lareau 2003, 6). The two approaches outlined by Larau can be used to explain the trajectories of social mobility that immigrants experience in the U.S. Whereas immigrants that assimilate to the middle-class embrace a "concerted cultivation" parenting style; immigrants that assimilate to the working class practice the “accomplishment of natural growth” approach. In the case of the five working class Latino/Hispanic of our study, all of the parents, with the exception of Gabriela's, practiced some variation of the “accomplishment of natural growth” allowing their children to develop naturally with minimal input and monitoring. Interestingly, Gabriela's parents, in their effort to move upward and assimilate to the middle-class, developed a kind of "concerted cultivation" style in where they actively tried to guide their children, pushed them to achieve in school, and managed their extracurricular activities. 2.1.1. Discourses and Imaginaries In all the five families, the outcomes of the parenting approaches shaped the configuration of the domestic media environments, and the new media practices and skills that where developed within the family context. For instance, in the four families that developed the “accomplishment of natural growth” approach parents did not participate in joint new media activities or actively monitor the use of new media devices. Given their busy schedule and hard work, little knowledge about technology and low levels of education, working class parents tended to have little or none participation in the youth new media practices at home. For instance, Mr. and Ms. Aguirre, did not had any rules regarding Inara's computer and Internet use. As Inara explained, her parents knew she was responsible and believed she understood how to use the technology. "Q: Do your parents have any rules? A: Rules? Q: Yeah. A: No. They know I’m responsible for whatever I do on the computer. And so, they’re like, “Whatever you do it’s your thing. But you know what you’re doing. And you know what consequences you’re getting into.” Likewise, Mr. and Ms. Chapa, the parents of Antonio practiced a working class parenting approach with little mentorship and minimal involvement in new media practices. Their parenting style was based on trust and the believed that their children were doing the correct things. In our home interview, while answering a question about setting up of rules for media use at home, Mr. Chapa said, "I don’t think it’s necessary, because I trust them, and I don’t think they will be doing things that are not correct. At least that’s the way I think, who knows? Only they know. You don’t have to be on top of them, telling them all the time what they have to do or not, because if they want to do it, they will do it anyway. I think you have to trust them. And, on the other hand, if you scold them a lot they will get mad. And regarding me, I don’t scold them." In contrast to the variations of the “accomplishment of natural growth” parenting style that characterized the families of Sergio (18), Miguel (14), Antonio (17) and Inara (19), the one of Gabriela (14) practiced the "concerted cultivation" approach. By developing a variation of this parenting style Mr. and Ms. Garcia actively tried to transition from working-class to middle-class. Although their parenting style did not have all the elements and privileges than the one of a native dominant middle-class family, their approach intended to actively cultivate the development of his children by structuring their activities, buying them high tech consumer goods, developing new media practices together, and pushing them to succeed in school. Thanks to their higher incomes, independent entrepreneurial activities, and having a diverse and robust social network, the Garcias had not only more knowledge about digital technology (Mr. Garcia was the only parent who used computers in his work) and more access to consumer goods, but also had more time to spend with their children in joint family new media practices such as playing video games, doing home videos, and exchanging music files. Especially Mr. Garcia, in a sort of patriarchal fashion, actively monitored his children uses of the new media devices he has bought them. In one interview, Gabriela explained how her dad was aware of her activities online. "Q: Do you think your parents know what you do online on Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr? A: Yeah. My dad’s told me, “I know what you do. I know you too good. Trust me.” Q: So, how does he know? How do you think he knows? A: I think because we’re just open with him. I think he just knows us. It’s really weird how he knows us. He could just sit me down and be like, “I know you’re feeling like this.” And it’s actually correct. I’m like, “Oh my God. He knows me.”" Gabriela description of her dad supervision reveals her feelings about the deep knowledge that her dad had about her new media use, and about her life in general. That sense of parental supervision, was not only based on the high level of communication that she maintained with her dad, but also in her dependency on him for paying Internet and cellphone connectivity and buying multiple new media goods. As Gabriela explicated, by paying for her cellphone service, her dad was able to monitor what she did with the new media tool. She said, "My dad’s always like, “I pay your bill.” He’s like, “I see when you stop talking at night. And I can see how much you text.” (...) usually he’s like, “What time did you go to sleep last night?” If it was really late and I’m like, “Early.” He’s like, “Liar.”" Ms. and Mr. Garcia developed a "concerted cultivation" parenting style in which they actively pushed their children to achieve and to "do better." Despite not having college degrees, both parents, and in particularly Mr.Garcia, played a vital role in building career aspirations and preparing their children to do well in school and go to college. As Mr. Garcia told us, "what we always tried to tell her (Gabriela) is that no matter what, she needs to do good, do better." Mr. and Ms. Garcia have invested a lot of time in keeping track of the academic performance of their two children and have nurtured, since early age, the idea that they have to excel in school and get involved in enrichment activities. As Gabriela explained, she felt a sense of responsibility in meeting their parent’s expectations. She said, "A: They’re not so strict, but they really push me to do good in school. And I think that I know if I got a bad grade or if I failed a class or if I had to take summer school they would be really disappointed. And I would feel bad for not meeting my parents’ expectations. Q: Expectations? A: Yes. Q: Do you like it that they have those expectations? Or do you feel like there’s a lot of pressure? A: I don’t think there’s that much pressure. They don’t say it, but I can feel it." In contrast to the Garcia family, the other four working class immigrant Latino/Hispanic families that practiced the "accomplishment of natural growth" parenting style did not constantly instilled high achieving expectations. Although Inara, Sergio, Antonio and Miguel parents valued education, they did not have a clear understanding of the U.S. schooling system and did not feel the need of pushing their children to have a high educational attainment. For these parents, the fact that their sons and daughters were enrolled at U.S. public schools, learned English, and passed their grades, even if they were in the general track, was understood as a sign of success and achievement. Although it was clear that all of these parents provided support and wanted the best for their children, their expectations were lower compared to the ones of Gabriela's, who were making efforts to transition to the U.S. middle class. Inara, for instance, explained the kind of expectations and support that her parents gave her in the following way: "my parents, they really don’t push you to do stuff. They don’t push me. (...) They never force me into anything. (...) They’re more like, “No. You do what you want to do. We’ll support you.” Or sometimes they’d be like, “I think you’re putting too much on your plate. You should probably quit dance team.” They’ve been telling me that. I was like no." 2.2.2. The Home Computer and the Present Regardless their parenting style, all the five immigrant parents made efforts to provide new media devices and Internet connectivity to their children. For these parents, new media technologies became part of living in the U.S. They believed new media devices and the Internet were important for their children development and life in the new country. Even though they had little knowledge of how digital tools and networks functioned, these parents provided access at their households according to the economic resources they had. For some of these parents, especially the ones with rural origins (Martinez, Chapa, and Aguirre families) they had had little contact with new media devices prior to their migration to the U.S. Although they had used television, radio, and telephone, they understood very little about how computers, networked mobile devices, videogame consoles, and the Internet functioned, and had not had the resources to learn about them in the U.S. However, in order to help their children complete schoolwork, they bought several new media devices. These parents, for instance, understood providing access to a computer and Internet connectivity at home, as a necessity they needed to cover in order to support the education of their children. Even more specifically, many of them understood the home computers as a tool for doing homework. Mr. and Ms. Chapa, Antonio's parents, clearly articulated in our home interview this reason for buying a computer. [FATHER]: The kids needed it [the computer]. [MOTHER]: -- The kids needed it. [FATHER]: For their homework. (...) That’s why we bought it because they needed it for their homework. [MOTHER]: They have many projects which need a computer. Q: Is it like a school supply? [FATHER]: Yes. Q: Is it like buying a book, or something like that? [FATHER]: Yes, it was a need, and we had to buy it. Q: But before that, had you ever thought about buying a computer? [FATHER]: Maybe, but no-- we didn’t buy one, until we needed it. Q: And when did you find out you needed it? [FATHER]: Well, when they said they needed a computer for their homework." Likewise, Ms. and Mr. Flores explicated they bought a home computer when Miguel and his brother started to have more homework, as they were advanced to an advanced track in middle school. After we asked them about the reason for buying the computer, they said,
"FATHER: For them, so that they could learn how to use it and do their homework, for school stuff mostly, it’s easier. MOTHER: Yes, when they were in fourth grade they advanced them to – what’s it called? To higher level. (...) So, they had extra homework, they had to do some research work and we had to go to the library to search for that information, so we decided to buy it." " The discourses of education, learning, and school homework had a great influence in the working class Latino/Hispanic immigrant parents and seemed to be the main drive for having a computer and an Internet connection at home across all the five families. However, motivations changed according to the new media device that parents bought for their children. Some of these working class immigrant parents, for example, bought videogame consoles and portable game systems, as presents and rewards so they could stimulate their children to do well in school. Miguel's dad, for instance, explained in our home interview, how he maintained a practice of giving his children new media devices, as they advanced in their school trajectory and improved their English skills. Mr. Flores said, "I told them, “Learn English well and improve your level, and once you reach the level you need –“ What did we buy? A Gameboy. Okay, they wanted a Gameboy, okay, we will buy it for them. And they passed and I bought the Gameboy. That’s how I started. (…) They tell me or I ask them, it’s something to motivate them a little. They say, “I want this.” “Okay, if you pass to the next grade and you do well at school, I’ll buy it for you.” I have tried to do that every year." 2.2.3. The Future of work However, although all working class Latino/Hispanic immigrant parents articulated the discourses of homework, education, and entertainment at the moment of equipping their houses with new media devices, only the father of Gabriela mentioned the relation between technology and the future of work in the U.S society and economy. As Mr. Garcia explicated during the home interview, technology was very important for the long-term development and career pathway of Gabriela. He said, "it’s very important. If you don’t have technology then you don’t have a job. And these days everything you do you have to do it through emails and the internet and websites. So she has to be, she has to have some knowledge in order to know how to survive. If she wants to go far." Differences between the two parenting styles, therefore, were noticeable in the discourse that parents articulated about technology in relation to the future of work. Due to his "concerted cultivation" parenting style, middle class aspirations, social resources, and occupation (owned his own business and used a computer at work), Mr. Garcia was able to articulate a discourse about the future transformation of jobs that the other working class parents were not familiar with. 2.2. Networked Domestic Media Environments As part of their process of assimilation to the U.S. the five Latino/Hispanic immigrant families of our study built domestic environments that had multiple new media devices and Internet connectivity. Although quality and number of devices varied across the different families, all of them had at least one desktop or laptop computer, a wi-fi Internet connection, several TV screens, and one videogame console. These immigrant families had joined the low-skilled working force, moved to big (an old) suburban houses in the north of Austin metropolitan area, and set up domestic media environments according to some of the standards (usually the lower with the exception of the Garcias) of a high tech hyper mediated society. To a certain extent, it could be said that immigrant parents made investments in new media goods for their homes in an effort to assimilate to the current U.S. working class and to participate in the growing new media mass market. By leveraging their earning capacity and building new media domestic environments, these five Latino/Hispanic immigrant families made their own versions of a safe, modern, and high tech twenty-first century American "dream home." Furthermore, by building these new media domestic environments, parents also supported their children's interests in U.S. consumer culture and digital media as much as their resources allowed them to do. As the younger members of the family rapidly assimilated to the U.S. across the dimensions of language, school, and culture, their desire to participate in the host consumer culture grew. In order to meet their children needs and support their school activities, development at home, and, in general, their process of assimilation to the U.S., parents made investments in a range of new media goods and services. Thanks to the massification of computers, mobile phones, videogame consoles, portable multimedia devices, and the spread of internet connectivity, building a new media domestic environment was something that all of these working class Latino/Hispanic immigrant parents were capable of doing, even if it was at the most basic levels of entry and with a low quality. As the Table 1 shows, all the five families had new media domestic environments that were networked and, particularly, rich in screen-entertainment media. Although the quality of material access was low (except for the Garcia family), these media domestic environments offered youth a range of media choices where they could exercise their own agency, and develop new media practices and skills. Family Computers Videogame Consoles Mobile Multimedia Devices Smart Phones Musical Instruments Cameras TV Audio Internet Garcia 4 Mac laptops 1 wii, 1 Xbox 2 iPod touch 4 iPhones 4S 1 piano, 1 flute 1 digital video, 2 digital photo 4 TV screens, 1 direct-broadcast satellite service, 1 DVD 1 HiFi Stereo wi-fi DSL Chapa 1 Dell Inspiron laptop, 1 broken laptop, 1 broken desktop 1 Nintendo NES, 1 Nintendo GameCube 1 iPod touch 5 Samsung Android 2 guitars (electric, acoustic) 1 broken analogue photo camera 3 TV screens, 1 direct-broadcast satellite service, 1 broken TV, 1 DVD, 1 VCR 1 Radio wi-fi DSL Aguirre 1 Dell Inspiron laptop 1 Wii none 3 Samsung Android none none 2 TV screens, broadcast 1 HiFi Stereo wi-fi DSL Flores 1 Optiplex desktop 1 Wii, 1 Xbox 1 Nintentdo DS 1 Android none none 2 TV screens, 1 direct-broadcast satellite service, 2 DVDs 1 HiFi Stereo, 4 radios wi-fi DSL Martinez 1 Dell desktop 1 Wii, 1 Play Station, 1 Xbox none none none none 5 TV screens, 1 direct-broadcast satellite service, 4 DVDs, 1 DVR, 2 VCR 1 HiFi Stereo, 1 radio wi-fi DSL Table 1. Media Domestic Environment of the five Latino/Hispanic immigrant families Not surprisingly, the differential quality of material access at home was determined by the resources that families had brought with them and gained while living in the U.S. Given the richer resources of Gabriela's parents, the Garcias' new media domestic environment had a higher quality in terms of connectivity, computer power, multiplicity of devices, and individual ownership. The four members of the Garcia family had personalized access to last generation Macbook laptops, multimedia software, iPhones, and wi-fi internet connection at home. In a clear sign of assimilation to the U.S. consumer culture and willingness to transition to the middle class, Mr. Garcia explained to us that his income allowed him to make a "nice living," buy "lots of stuff," and have a "happy family”. Regarding the decision to buy new laptops for each family member, he explained that, "it’s easier when they [Gabriela and her sister] got their own laptops. They kind of asked and I got them. (...) It becomes handy. And it keeps everybody happy." Four television sets, two videogame consoles (Wii, Xbox), two DVD players, an electric piano, and direct-broadcast satellite television service complemented the new media domestic environment of the Garcia family, providing a wide range of media choices for all the family members. Other digital tools such as photography and video cameras, and portable multimedia devices were also available in a more personalized manner at the Garcia's household. Gabriela, for instance, had access to an iPod touch, a flute, and two photography cameras (one compact Canon Powershot, and one SLR Canon Rebel) that Mr. Garcia has bought her in order to support her interests in photography and music. In contrast, to the Garcias, the families of Inara, Sergio, Antonio, and Miguel, confronted more limitations at the moment of setting up their domestic environments. As a result of their fewer resources, these families experienced lower quality of material access to new media technology at their households. Home computers, for instance, were outdated, lacked multimedia software, had small screens (12-16") and were shared among several members of the family. In the Martinez household, for instance, Sergio had to share an old desktop computer (with a 16"screen monitor) with his mother, his sister, his two nieces (ages 12 and 14), and little nephew (age 8). In the Aguirre family, Inara shared an old Dell 15" laptop computer with her mother. In the Chapa family, Antonio shared a Dell 12" laptop computer with his younger brother (age 15) and his older sister (age 20). In the Flores family, Miguel shared an old Dell desktop computer (14" screen monitor) with his twin brother, that he described it once as a "16 years old crappy Optiplex." Although the other computers were probably not as old as the one that the Flores family had, they were more than six years old, run outdated versions of the Window operating system, and did not have multimedia software (with the exception of Antonio’s laptop) Lower quality and quantity of material access, as Ellen Seiter has argued in "Practicing at Home: Computer, Pianos, and Cultural Capital," (2008) affects the development of "digital literacy skills that are robust and confident"(32). Old computers and few hours of practice limit the kinds of activities that youth can do as well as their disposition towards technology. As a result of low quality and quantity of material access, usage quality decreases and developing new media skills, both technical and sociocultural, becomes difficult. Even more important, low quality and quantity of access directly undermine the possibility of acquiring the disposition for using new media beyond casual and recreational modes. As Seiter has pointed out, there is "an underestimation of specific forms of cultural capital required to maintain the systems themselves and move beyond the casual, recreational uses of computers to those that might lead directly to well-paid employment." (29) Such challenge was confronted by youths such as Miguel, Sergio, and Antonio, whose interest in gaming and audiovisual production required high quality of material and usage access. Antonio, for instance, expressed his desire to have a better computer at home in the following way, "I really want to get a Mac, because they’re faster, they’re -- what I’m interested in, I can do that on that and most PCs are really slow and you can’t really do most of the stuff I want to do." Despite limited practice time, lack of computer power, and outdated new media devices, all these Latino/Hispanic immigrant youth still figured out ways to exercise their agency at the family context while using the digital tools and networks they had. For instance, taking advantage of the networking capabilities and computer power of videogame consoles, Inara, Miguel, and Sergio, became avid users of their Wii and Play Station consoles for streaming TV shows and movies from the Internet via Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu. Although such kind of new media practice was clearly oriented towards entertainment and cultural consumption, it was still important for participating as consumers in the U.S. culture. By interacting with the audiovisual content they retrieved using videogame consoles, these youth, found opportunities to not only practicing the English language within the home, but also familiarizing with the narratives and symbols of the U.S. youth culture. The mobile disruption Bigger disparities in material access to technology were noticeable when looking at the ownership of mobile phones. Not surprisingly, given the configuration of the Martinez family with a single working class mother, and numerous people living in the same household (3 adults, 4 children), resources were more scare. As a result, neither Sergio nor his Mother had access to cellphones. Likewise, the Flores family could not provide access to smart phones to their children, and only the father could afford having a mobile telephone. In contrast, Inara, Gabriela, and Antonio, had access to smartphones that were paid by an older family member. Mr. Aguirre and Mr. Garcia paid the cellphone bills of Inara and Gabriela respectively; Maria, the older sister of Antonio, paid for the mobile telephone of his brother. Access to smart phones considerably expanded the range of media activities youth could develop at the context of home because these devices provided anytime/anywhere Internet connectivity, web browsers, audiovisual recording capabilities, text messaging tools, GPS navigation, and a range of applications for reproducing, creating and sharing content. Hence, having a smart phone meant more than accessing a simple communication tool. The mobile phone became like a portable entertainment and production center, a mini-computer for communication, sociality, and navigation. However, the smart phone was not the only new media device that youth could use for multiple purposes and in a mobile (anytime/anywhere) fashion. There were other powerful mobile devices, such as the iPod and the Nintendo DS that had networking capabilities and could be used for connecting to the Internet and reproducing multimedia content (both from the network and from dedicated memory storage). For Miguel and Sergio, the two youths who did not have access to cellphones, these kind of multimedia mobile devices became a valuable resource they could use not only for entertainment (especially music and games), but also, for communication and sociality. For instance, Sergio used an iPod touch he permanently borrowed from Antonio, and was able to exchange text messages with his peers using an application he installed in the mobile device. Miguel also leveraged a multimedia mobile device for sociality as he used the browser of his Nintendo DS in order to access online social networking sites such as Facebook and send direct messages to his peers from his home. 2.2.1. Negotiating Public and Private Spaces within the Home. Family members, according to their age, gender, and roles, assume different positions of power and negotiate the organization of the media domestic environment. In modern twentieth century homes (especially in the U.S and U.K.), as communication scholars have argued, this environment has been divided spatially in public and private spaces, structured in time according with the family rhythms and routines, and organized according to social class values and earning capacity (Seiter 1993; Livingstone and Bovill 2001; Livingstone 2002; Horst 2010). In the case of the five Latino/Hispanic families of our study, the spatial and temporal organization of the new media domestic environment revealed their trajectory of assimilation to the U.S. working class, the beliefs and aspirations that characterized their parenting styles, and the bicultural dynamics and acculturation gaps between parents and children. Although given the limitations of our study and data collection it is difficult to create a detailed map of the new media domestic environment, our data allows us to discuss some of the main characteristics of the temporal and spatial organization of this environment in the five Latino/Hispanic immigrant families. In particular, it allows us to analyze how these families negotiated the distribution of media in the "public space" of the living room and the "private space" of the teenager bedroom. In all the five working class immigrant families cultural assimilation differences between parents and children situated the latter in a position of relative power in where they played roles as translators, learners, and experts in the U.S. culture. As a result, the building of the new media domestic environment, as well as its temporal and spatial organization, reflected the interests of both parents and children and the acculturation gaps between them. While parents negotiated the organization of the domestic media environment with a cultural frame characterized by the use of Spanish language, familismo (strong family orientation and cohesion), and a communal provision of media; youths used a frame marked by the use of the English language, individualization, and personalized media. Although at first glance, the process of parent-children negotiation seemed to locate the original culture in the public spaces of the house, and the host culture in the private spaces of youth bedrooms, the reality turned out to be more complicated. Given the networked affordances of the new media devices and the Internet connectivity of the households, the Latino/Hispanic and U.S. cultures coexisted in the public spaces and were juxtaposed by the different media practices that family members developed. 126.96.36.199. Personalized Environments and the Space of the Bedroom For all the five immigrant youth of our study, the space of the bedroom was an important context of media use at their homes. It was a space for personal expression, leisure, rest, and media activity. Due to their busy school schedule (8am-4pm), and afterschool activities (4-6:30pm approximately), their activities in the bedroom tended to happen at night and early morning during the weekdays. On the weekends and school breaks, however, their activities in this space intensified. Despite sharing bedrooms with other members of the family (only Inara had a single bedroom), these youths carved out semi-private spaces in their bedrooms in where they could engage in new media practices away from the supervision of their parents, and have more control over their media schedule and usage time. In the semi-private space of their bedrooms, and according to the media devices they had available, youth had the opportunity to explore their interests in music, games, television and cinema, and also to connect to the Internet and to their peers via wi-fi networks. Given these youths' cultural and social interests, their bedrooms were mostly English-language oriented. Although the bedrooms of Inara, Gabriela, Antonio, Miguel, and Sergio were different in size, furniture, decoration, and quantity and quality of new media devices, all of them had at least one TV screen, one videogame console with networking capabilities, and one mobile device (in the case of Sergio was borrowed). Hence, even in the lack of access to a computer within the bedroom, these youth could connect to the Internet via their videogame consoles or mobile devices and engage in a range of different activities including browsing the web, exchanging messages with peers, and reproducing of audiovisual content. However, given the design of the video game consoles and its controllers, the latter activity was the one preferred by youth when they used these devices to connect to the Internet. For instance, Miguel spent many hours in his bedroom, beyond the sleep time schedule fixed by their parents, watching U.S. TV shows and movies via Netflix and U.S. amateur videos via YouTube he could reproduce using a Wii and a small TV screen. As one of the photos (Image 1) that Miguel took in our collaborative ethnography exercise (mapping out daily uses of technology) illustrates, the set-up of this mini networked entertainment system (Wii-Tv screen-Internet connection) had several limitations for media production, writing, and reading. The mini-system was set-up inside the reduced space in the interior of a closet, on the top of a little chair, and with a small TV screen (12") and low quality TV speakers.
Image 1. Photograph of a Wii connected to a small TV screen in Miguel's bedroom. Differences in quantity and quality of material and usage access were very noticeable in the configuration of the personalized new media environments within the bedroom and they were determined by the income of the parents. As the Table 2 reveals, Gabriela and Inara were the only youths who could regularly access a computer in their bedroom. The two of them, and also Antonio, had access to smart phones and relied on them for several of the activities they did at the semi-private space of their bedroom, and many times, from their bed. Miguel and Sergio, despite not having access to cellphones, did also experience some degree of mobility at the bedroom with the use of multimedia portable devices such as the Nintendo DS and the iPod. Name Computers Videogame consoles Mobile Multimedia Devices Smart Phones Musical Instruments TV sets Audio Gabriela 1 Mac latops none 1 iPod touch + headphones 1 iPhone S4 + earplugs 1 flute 1 TV screen none Inara 1 Dell Inspiron Laptop 1 Wii none 1 Samsung Android + earplugs none 1 TV screen none Antonio none 1 Nintendo NES, 1 Nintendo GameCube 1 iPod touch + headphones 1 Samsung Android 2 guitars (electric, acoustic), 1 amplifier 2 TV screens, 1 DVD player none Miguel none 1 Wii 1 Nintendo DS + headphones none none 1 Tv screen 1 alarm radio Sergio 1 borrowed Mac laptop 1 Play Station, 1 Xbox borrowed iPod touch + headphones none none 1 TV screen 1 boombox Table 2. Personalized New Media Environments in the Bedroom A common characteristic across all the five personalized new media environments was the pervasiveness of music. Although only Gabriela and Antonio, had access to musical instruments within their bedrooms, all of the five Latino/Hispanic immigrant youth were able to reproduce and amplify music in their bedroom and they usually juxtaposed this activity with other media practices. Audio reproduction and amplification inside the bedroom was possible using devices such as boomboxes, an alarm radio, TV speakers, mobile device speakers, amplifiers, and headphones. Gabriela, for instance, mentioned in one interview that she used to amplify music in her bedroom (and other spaces of the household as well) by using the internal speakers of her iPhone. She said, "A: I use my phone a lot. I use is on A days or every morning to wake me up, to actually get me awake I put music on. Q: Through speakers or with your ear buds? A: Usually with speakers, but then I’ve been too lazy to. So, I just carry around my phone. My dad’s always making fun of me with that. It’s my own little boom box." Having multiple new media devices at the bedroom space, however, did not necessary mean active engagement in new media practices. Low quality of material access directly affected motivation, usage, and skills. Some of the personalized new media environments of working class Latino/Hispanic youth were filled with new media that were never used because they were broken, because they did not have networking capabilities, or because they were old and no content was created for them by the industry. For instance, in the map of technologies in the house that Antonio drew during one of our collaborative ethnography exercises (Image 2), he identified seven different devices in his bedroom. However, one of them was listed as "broken" (a laptop), and two of them where videogame consoles from previous decades (NES 1980s, GameCube 2000s).
Image 2. Antonio's map of technologies in the house. As I confirmed across several interviews as well as in my visit to his house, the broken and "old" new media devices were never used. However, they continued to be part of his bedroom and were piled over the top of a cabined that was filled with his clothes. Given the lack of resources of his family, he had not been able to get new videogame systems and had already lost his interest in playing games. As Antonio explained, " Q: When did you stop playing? A: When it stopped making games it was around -- that was -- in eighth grade they stopped selling those games. (…) And I couldn't find any more new games and I already beat the ones I had. Q: So it's an old system? A: Yeah. Q: And you didn't want to have a new one? A: I did, but we didn't have money, or I didn't have money to buy a new one, and I never actually got to buy one." As this example reveals, in working class families with few resources, the rapid obsolescence of new media generates challenges for maintaining children and youth new media practices. As software and hardware become obsolete very fast, lacking the financial resources for updating to new systems, directly affect the new media usage and skills. Although children and youth could still have the motivation and continue their new media practice, the lack of quality of material access can undermine the engagement. Hence, although many new media devices could remain at the working class home, if they are old or broken (that is, if they have low quality), there is little chance that youth will be using them to pursue their new media interests and practices. 188.8.131.52. The Living Room as a Domestic Public Space In contrast to the more personal space of youth bedrooms and their individualized temporalities and styles, the public space of the living room in all the five Latino/Hispanic immigrant households was organized according to the idea of communal family life. This idea was not only shaped by parents' original culture values (e.g. familismo), but also by their assimilation trajectories into the U.S., their parenting styles, and their social, cultural, and economic resources. A common characteristic of the living rooms of our five working class Latino/Hispanic families was that all of them had a big TV set, a DVD device, a high fi stereo, and wi-fi Internet connection. They were all spaces for media use with a heavy audiovisual orientation. Its layout with sofas and chairs that surrounded a central big central TV set was like a re-interpretation of the 20th century U.S. middle-class family ideal. The living room was an open space inside the house were all members of the family could gather and interact with each other, engage in a range of new media activities, and speak and listening to both Spanish and English according to their different levels of acculturation. Although parents tended to have a greater position of power at the moment of organizing the domestic public space due to their earning capacity and childrearing roles; youth, especially as they aged, increased their power and were able to also influence the temporality and structure of the living room. For instance, while older youth such as Inara(19), Sergio (18) and Antonio (17) could engage in new media practices at the living room for longer periods of time and until late hours (even after their parents went to bed), Miguel (14) could only use the desktop computer located in the living room for two hours a day and had to be in his bedroom after 10pm. Although the presence of a big TV screen in the living rooms could be interpreted as a sign of mediated communal family life, TV practices, as other scholars have pointed out (Livingston 2002; Horst 2008) had lost their communal meaning. They are no longer the powerful organizers of the rhythms of the family life as they used to be in the 20th century. At the year of our fieldwork only the Flores and the Chapa families continued to be engaged in TV viewing as a joint family practice. In these two families, parents and youths still were sitting together in the sofas and chairs of their living room in order to watch TV content. Given the little knowledge of the English language of some of the members of these families, the communal family practice involved viewing content in Spanish language. As Antonio explained, although he did not necessarily like the kind of content that his family watched together, he still enjoyed the activity because it "entertained" him. As he said, "A: I’m usually -- I don’t like soap operas so I’ll sit there and watch them because they entertain me a bit. Q: Like telenovelas? A: Yeah. I don’t like them though. Q: What kind of telenovelas? Mexican? A: Yeah (…) Telemundo or whatever other Spanish channels they have here." Despite the lack of communal TV watching, families still could leverage the living room TV screen for joined media practices if they decided to play videogames. The Garcia family, for instance, as the one with richer resources, more technological savvy parents, and greater social mobility towards the middle class, played videogames together in the living room. This activity, however, had a more flexible temporality than the one that the TV medium offered with its broadcast schedule. Instead, videogame playing in the living room seemed to be a more casual and flexible activity in which members of the family decided to participate as they saw other members being engaged. As Gabriela explained, all the members of her family progressively developed a passion for playing together Super Mario Kart (using the Wii console, its controllers, and a large TV set) in the living room. An interesting variation of the media environment of the living room was the location of the home computer in one of the edges of this public space. In three of the five working class Latino/Hispanic families, this kind of set up emerged as a pattern and seemed to be related to the “accomplishment of natural growth” parenting style, parents’ low levels of education and little knowledge of technology. Antonio, Miguel, and Sergio's parents decided to place the computer, either a desktop or a laptop, in the living room, as a practical solution for solving the tension created by their lack of understanding of computers and the Internet, and the sociocultural needs of their children. According to these parents, having the computer in the public and visible space of the living room, allowed them to "watch" the activities of their children and encourage safety. As the mother of Sergio explained, while showing me the location of a desktop computer on a little table in the border o the living room, "A: The computer is there, and I think that they can’t be doing something bad, because the house is always like this. Q: It’s visible. A: Yes, it’s always there. If any of the girls is there, I’m in the kitchen, or sitting in the living room drinking some coffee or watching TV, and people come in and out." Likewise, Ms. Flores referred to the safety of the living room. She explained that the location of the home computer in this public space allowed her and Mr. Flores "to watch what they [Miguel and his brother] are looking at (...) because you hear of so many things that happen (...) I think it’s safer to have it here in the living room." Although the availability of computers in the domestic public space did not necessary imply joint media practices, the visibility of this technology allowed parents to exercise a restrictive mediation with different degrees of intensity. For instance, by having the computer in a public space of the home the parents of Miguel could enforce, more easily, the computer usage rule and schedule they have set up (two hours of computer usage per day, never after 10pm). In contrast, the parents of Antonio, with perhaps a more "natural growth" approach did not enforce any restrictions on the use of computer. Antonio explained their approach to computer use in the following way, "My parents don't really have that much rules. Overall, I can do whatever I want on the computer. They don't really restrict me to a specific time when I have to get off." Mr. and Ms. Chapa even allowed Antonio, who was the family "tech-buff," to create his own unique computer set-up in the living room using different pieces of hardware and peripherals. As one of the photographs Antonio took in the collaborative ethnography exercise (Image 3) illustrates, in the set-up of his home computer he had been able to connect the mini Dell inspiron laptop to a bigger screen monitor (14"), had little speakers, and very important, a pair of studio headphones.
Image 3. Photograph of home computer set-up at Antonio's family living room. Finally, the public space of the living room in all the five working class Latino/Hispanic families was also a space for mobility and connectivity. Thanks to the availability of wi-fi Internet connection in the living room and the networking capabilities of mobile devices, several new media goods that were "owned" by family members entered this public space with a regular frequency. Youths, particularly the ones with access to mobile phones, mentioned using their mobile devices in the living room constantly as an extension of their anytime/anywhere online activities. Antonio, for instance explained that at home he preferred to go on the internet using his phone because "It's just usually always in my pocket, so I'll just pull that out of my pocket and it's already there." Likewise, Gabriela mentioned her preference for using his iPhone anywhere at home in order to go online. She said, "It’s...it’s like you can have it anywhere. So if you don’t want to carry your laptop around, it’s just your phone’s easier." However, even youths who did not have access to cellphones, like Miguel, leveraged the Internet connectivity available in the living room for using networked mobile devices such as the Nintendo DS he co-owned with his twin brother, and an iPod he usually borrowed from a friend. A look at the map of technologies at the house Miguel drew, clearly shows how the "DS" device appeared in both of the sofas of the living room as a sign of juxtaposition with the other possible new media practices that happened at that space.
Image 4. Miguel's map of technologies at the house As the multiplication of mobile devices increases, and more members of the family have access to them, the public space of the living room seems to welcome them by offering wireless Internet connectivity. As a result, more individualized media practices seem to be possible in what used to be a mainly a communal space. In the case of the five Latino/Hispanic families, such transformation of the living room seemed to have occurred without that much tension. Neither parents nor children mentioned having conflicts because their use of mobile devices at the living room. Contrary, such juxtaposition of activities and devices in the public space of the home seemed to be understood by the parents as a sign that the activities of their children with new media were safe. 2.3. New Media Practices and Skills. Among all the variety of new media practices that Latino/Hispanic immigrant youths developed at the context of the home, I focus my analysis on the ones that were more relevant for advancing their assimilation to the U.S. I have grouped these new media practices in three different categories: homework, media consumption, and media production. As I will discuss, by developing these practices, youths exercised their own agency, and gained new media skills (e.g. distributed cognition, transmedia navigation) that helped them advance their assimilation process across multiple dimensions and with different paces. 2.3.1. Doing Homework in a Networked Way: Distributed Cognition. Doing homework was a common practice all five Latino/Hispanic youths experienced at the context of their family. For this activity, youths used their home computers and Internet connections. Although homework load was not very heavy, and they could usually complete it inside the school hours (especially Miguel, Inara, Antonio and Sergio who were in the general track), all of these youths mentioned working in school assignments at home and using new media technologies for "getting homework done." In order to complete their homework they regularly used the Google search engine and browsed the World Wide Web, and sometimes watched online videos. While doing their homework in a networked way, all of them had the opportunity of developing the new media skill of "distributed cognition." That is, they were able to gain the ability to expand and augment their cognitive capacities. (Jenkins et al. 2006) The "distributed cognition" skill they developed through their homework practice, however, was not very robust and tended to rely too much on the technical skill of searching the World Wide Web. For all of these youths doing homework at the family context meant interacting with the information available in the ever-expanding repository of the web. Their favorite tool for that interaction was the Google Search Engine. All of them were heavy users of it and had made it the default engine of their home computers and mobile devices. Gabriela, for instance mentioned, "if I need help on math I would go on Google... It helps me get the homework done." Similarly, Antonio said, "I usually just use Google and I’ll just go through it for whatever I need, I just get a little information of everything." As the following excerpt from an interview with Sergio reveals, using Google in his homework practice allowed him to complete his assignment and get good results. "A: Google helped me out with a lot of homework. Q: Really? Give me example. A: Whenever I don’t know anything it’s Google. I really Google the question so it’ll help me out with questions. Google is my number one friend on the Internet. If it’s not on the first page of Google I’ll never find it. Q: So how do you ask a question to Google? A: I mainly just, I ask the question that is given to me. And if I can’t find it that way I’ll just reformat the question or find the key word in the question. Q: Oh, so do you use, like, quotations for the question? A: Yes. Q: Oh, so you look literally for the question? A: Literally for the question, yes. Q: Really? A: Sometimes some of the homework here at school is printed off the internet- (...) Q: And do you feel like, I mean, when you did your homework using that, which was the result? A: It was pretty good. Like, my grade wasn’t wrong. Like, the answer was correct. Q: Oh, so you got it right? A: Yes." However, as the previous passage reveals, the technical use of the Google tool was done in a basic level. Sergio's queries (and also the ones of the other five youths according to what they narrated in our interviews) did not involve customized search (e.g. Boolean operators, wildcards), and usually relied in entering to the search box just questions, keywords, and equations he directly copied from his school assignments. Given the "good" and fast results he was able to get from this practice, and the impressive power of the Google search engine PageRank algorithm for retrieving information from all over the web, it was not surprising that Sergio claimed that "If it’s not on the first page of Google I’ll never find it." Such statement shows the limitations of the "distribution cognition" skill he and the other Latino/Hispanic youth were developing with their networked homework practice. By relying to much on the searchabily affordance of the web, they tended to focus their homework practice in just the technical action of searching, and did not develop other social and cultural aspects of the "distribution cognition" skill such as "tapping social institutions and practices or remote experts whose knowledge may be useful in solving a particular problem" (Jenkins et al. 37). Despite the ubiquitous presence of Google in the homework practice Latino/Hispanic youths developed at home, some of them also relied in other tools for augmenting their cognitive capacity. Using these tools, however, was also oriented towards over exercising the technical skill of searching. Antonio, for instance, used a website called Spark Notes in order to complete reading assignments. He said,"If I haven’t read a book for English, I’ll usually just go to Spark Notes and find a summary on there, which is very helpful most of the time." Inara, who was a visual oriented person, relied on YouTube for finding videos about books she needed to read as well as for preparing for tests. When she had to take the SAT test, she prepared herself at home watching online videos she found in YouTube. As she explained, "it was the SAT exam, and I wanted to see something, because reading -- I'm not really good with the reading and doing it on my own kind of thing, I like to see it -- I like to visualize, so I, you know, searched SAT tutoring or something and it told me like how to remember stuff and how to do this quickly and do this first and then do this first, because it's easier and then if you don't get one question just let it go and go on to the next one and come back to it and then take the most greatest guess you can think of and then that's it and I’m just like, "Okay." And I made a good grade on it." Doing homework in a networked way was useful for all the five youths because it allowed them to find information fast and exercise their agency at their family contexts. Independently of the parenting approaches of their families, and the tracks they were enrolled at school, leveraging the searchability affordance of the World Wide Web technology became useful for completing their school assignments and solving academic problems. However, with the exception of Gabriela, who was enrolled in the advanced track at Freeway High, and had more support at home due to the "concerted cultivation" style of her parents, doing homework in a networked way allowed all the other youths to compensate the lack of adult guidance they had at their homes and the "natural growth" parenting style of their families. Furthermore, this new media practice, matched the low expectations of the track they were enrolled in school. Not surprisingly, Miguel, Inara, Sergio and Antonio who were enrolled in the general track, and whose parents practiced the “natural growth” approach had developed an attitude towards educational achievement in which they just needed to pass. As Inara stated in one interview, "It's not a big deal as long as I'm passing then I'll be good." According to this attitude and school expectations, completing homework in a fast while augmenting their cognitive capacities did not require the development of information quality standards, judgment, and critical skills. Nevertheless, the practice of doing homework in a networked way, and the "distribution cognition" skill, helped all of the five Latino/Hispanic immigrant youth to assimilate to the U.S. Evidence of that, is that all of them had advanced in the U.S. school system, had not dropped out, and three of them (Inara, Antonio, and Sergio) graduated from high school. Their educational attainment, even despite their low achievement in the school general track, was an indicator of their assimilation to the U.S. Participating in the schooling system of the host society, adapting to it, and navigating it, did advance their process of assimilation, especially at the cultural, educational, and linguistic dimensions. However, although being able to "pass" and graduate was definitely an important outcome of the homework practice and "distributed cognition" skill, opportunities for developing this practice and skill to a higher level were missing.
2.3.2. Media Consumption: Transmedia Navigation (levels of simple recognition and narrative logic) All of the five working class Latino/Hispanic immigrant youth, independently of the resources and quality of their new media domestic environments, were able to engage in a range of media consumption activities at home. From music listening to videogame playing to movie watching to multimedia streaming, Inara, Gabriela, Antonio, Miguel, and Sergio, exercised their own agency in the context of their families, and, taking advantage of the affordances of new media tools, were able to interact with vast amounts of U.S. cultural content. While doing so, they were able to not only advance their process of assimilation, especially in the linguistic and cultural dimensions, but also developed the new media skill of transmedia navigation. This skill, as Jenkins et al. have explained, consists in "the ability to deal with the flow of stories and information across multiple modalities."(46) In the context of their homes, these youths used their mobile devices, videogame consoles, home computers, and TVs, to connect to the new networked communication environment, and to hunter and gather cultural content from a variety of sources. According to their personal interests (as well as to the ones of their peers), youth assembled the pieces of information they collected, gave them meaning, and incorporated them as part of their identities. For instance, as music fans, all of them were able to experience their favorite tunes and follow the activities of their favorite artists across multiple modalities such as Internet radio, YouTube music videos, MP3 files, and Facebook feeds. For these working class Latino/Hispanic youths, music was experienced across media, particularly, going back and forth between aural and audiovisual modes. As Inara, explained, she usually combined listening to Pandora Internet radio and watching music videos in YouTube. She said, "Pandora, of course, is not going to show it to me (...) so I'll go to YouTube and look the video up and just listen to it like that. So I think it is important, because that way I can -- if I'm craving to listen to something then I'll put that on (...) And you see everything and it's awesome." By the same token, Gabriela also explained how she "listened" to music by going back and forth between playing songs with the iTunes application of her laptop and iPhone, and playing videos in YouTube. As she explicated, one of the reasons for going to YouTube was that she could access the content for free. She said, "sometimes I can’t find the song that’s not on iTunes. Like, I don’t like buying songs on iTunes a lot because I think it’s a waste of money. And so I try looking for them online for free. But if I can’t find them then I just use YouTube." Although the combination of aural and audiovisual modes in youth music popular culture was not unique to new media (e.g. MTV music videos had been around since 1981), the ability to hunter and gather (for free) music tunes, streams, and videos from a rich and diverse networked communication environment, and from the context of home, was something new to working class youths. This activity supported the development of the "transmedia navigation" skill. Particularly, as youths were able to identify and to follow the same music related content in its multiple modalities across different channels, they were able to gain the skill of "transmedia navigation" at the level of "simple recognition." (Jenkins et al. 48) In relation to music consumption, the transmedia navigation skill helped all the five Latino/Hispanic immigrant youths rapidly assimilate to the diverse U.S. music culture and listen to English-language tunes from a variety of genres according to their interests and the ones of their peer group. Miguel, for instance, listened to death metal and scream (a subgenre of emo and post-hardcore); Antonio listened to dubstep and film soundtracks; and Sergio, Inara, and Gabriela developed an eclectic taste that included hip hop, indie rock, pop, techno, reggae and also latin music. Hence, especially for the youths with eclectic taste, the transmedia navigation skill fostered a sellective mode of acculturation in which they could, at the same time, assimilate to the U.S. culture, and still maintain their connection with their original one. For instance, according to Inara, music was very important in her life precisely because it allowed her to embrace a bicultural identity. In one interview, she clearly articulated her proud in being able to listen to music from both cultures and in both Spanish and English. She said, "Music is very important in my life. It’s everywhere. Especially since I guess you could say I have two lives, an Hispanic life and also an American life. If I would be living in Mexico (...) I would just listen to nothing but Hispanic music, which is reggaeton, salsa, merengue, cumbias. (...) But now since I live here I can listen to anything. Techno, what else? Hip hop, rock, reggae. I listen to country music. I love country music." One of the common U.S. cultural products that youth experienced across multiple platforms during our fieldwork was the blockbuster sci-fi adventure film The Hunter Games (2012). This movie was based on a three novel series written by Suzanne Collins in 2008, and it had also a soundtrack album that included several popular artists such as The Civil Wars, The Decemberists, and Arcade Fire. Following his passion for music, film, and storytelling, Antonio, interacted with the textual and aural modalities of The Hunter Games story from the context of his home. As he explained to me, he downloaded the three books from the Internet in ePub format and read them in his bedroom using his smart phone. He also downloaded one of the songs (MP3) of the soundtrack album made by the Canadian/American indie rock band Arcade Fire (the one called "Abraham's Daughter"). As he proudly explicated, he was able to "grab" the music tune days before the movie was even premiered. He said, "I actually had it like a couple days -- two weeks before it actually came out on the movie in theaters.(...) They posted it on their website and they posted it on Facebook, so then I grabbed it from there." Although Antonio had to go outside of his home in order to watch The Hunter Games movie, the activities he developed within the context of his home, clearly helped him to develop the transmedia skill, to express his agency as a media hunter and gather, and to understand how the same content was being translated across different modes of representation. Likewise, for the youth who developed the transmedia navigation at the level of narrative logic, the context of home allowed them to interact with the flow of information across media and understand "the connections and complexity of a story being told through different media" (Jenkins et al. 48) This narrative logic level of transmedia navigation was especially noticeable among the youth who consumed manga and anime in English language. Inara, Miguel, and Sergio, for instance, mentioned they had had interactions with complex transmedia worlds such as Sailor Moon and Full Metal Alchemist, especially when they were younger, and mentioned they followed the stories not only through TV cartoons and DVD movies, but also through comic books. Given the power of the entertainment industries to exploit media properties across a range of formats and channels, and the dispersion of these content across an expanding networked communication environment with low barriers to entry (at least regarding consumption), it was not difficult for working class Hispanic/Latino immigrant youth to gain transmedia navigation skills. As they gained that skill they were also able to advance their assimilation in the cultural and linguistic dimensions. Especially regarding the interaction with media content in audiovisual and textual modes, all the five immigrant youths of our study overwhelmingly preferred U.S. cultural products and in English language. Although some of them like Inara, Sergio, and Miguel were interested in anime and manga (a cultural product from Japan), their interaction with this content was made using English translation and subtitles. Hence, all of them actively practiced the language of the host country while being at the context of home even if the interactions with their parents were sometimes only in Spanish. Such kind of use of the two languages did not seem to create conflicts within the family dynamics or at least that was not reported in our interviews with youths and their parents. Perhaps due to the affordances of new devices for individualized consumption and networkability, youths were able to access the cultural content they wanted almost anytime they wanted, both in their bedrooms and living rooms, and in the language they preferred. They interacted with these content either using their personalized screens and headphones, or with the new media devices located in the public spaces of the house. However, even if the audiovisual and textual consumption of media was done in English-language and in an individualized manner, the stories, characters, and symbols, were eventually juxtaposed with elements of the original parental culture. Although the limitations of our fieldwork and data do not allow me to reveal the multiple symbolic juxtapositions and mixes that could have emerged at the family context due to the active transmedia navigation of children and youth, there is some evidence in our interviews that this phenomenon actually happened. For instance, explaining her engagement with the Transformers franchise, Inara revealed not only a lifelong passion for interacting with this narrative world across audiovisual media formats, but also an active use of the symbols in her bedroom as an expression of his bicultural identity and creativity. As she explained, "A:The Transformers cartoon, (...) that was by far my favorite show of all times. And then when it became a movie that’s the only fanatic craziness that I’ve gone through is Transformers one through three. Q: Really? A: Yeah. I’ll be like, “Transformers!” Every time I see something about Transformers I would scream. And then my friends are like, “What?” And then see it and be like, “Oh. Transformers.” And my friend also got me a poster so it’s hanging on my wall. And I won’t take it off. That’s the only thing that I have that is a poster and that nothing has to do with anything of my decorations. Because I have a giraffe painting. And I also have the Virgin Mary on one side. And then I have Transformers on the other. I can’t get enough of it." 2.3.3. Media production: Transmedia Navigation (level of rhetoric) Besides being able to develop the skill of transmedia navigation at the levels of recognition and narrative logic, the five Latino/Hispanic youths were also able to hone this skill at the level of rhetoric. That is, they were able to "express an idea within a single medium or across the media spectrum" (Jenkins et al. 48). For instance, within the context of their families they created and exchanged text messages, status updates, and multimodal profiles leveraging the tools and networks they could access at home. Due to the bicultural and networked quality of their domestic environments, these activities involved communicating and socializing with both family members and with peers, in both Spanish and English. However, the characteristics of their families and their personal interests, created big differences in the kind of new media production working class Latino/Hispanic youths were able to do. While all of them created textual content and multimodal profiles for social network sites (e.g. Facebook) in a casual and friendship-driven way; only few developed a creative media production practice that was interest-driven and artistic at their family context. Social, economic, cultural and technological resources available at home, parenting styles, and personal motivation determined youths' media production practices. Only Gabriela and Antonio, the youths who had access to higher quality computers, software, and musical instruments at their homes, developed a creative media production practice that involved more advanced uses of digital tools. Although their new media production work was not directly related to the musical instruments they had, their disposition to practice, experiment, and self-teach was different to the one of the other youth. Following their personal motivation, both Gabriela and Antonio, invested time and effort in trying to master a technical media skill and a professional digital tool that allowed them to express their ideas in a specific modality. For both of them, the context of the family gave them a space to exercise their agency, develop a creative identity, and make media products. On the one hand, Gabriela became engaged in photography and practiced taking and editing digital pictures with his two digital cameras (one compact and one SLR) and the Photoshop software of his Macbook laptop. On the other, Antonio became engaged in computer music production and practiced sequencing, layering, cutting and making music using the home computer, the FL Studio software (a digital audio workstation), and his headphones. However, although both Gabriela and Antonio spent lots of time practicing with digital tools at their homes, and developed the rhetoric level of transmedia navigation through visual and aural modes of expression, the outcomes of their practices were different in terms of assimilation to the U.S. For Gabriela, it allowed her to advance in their trajectory of assimilation as she developed a career aspiration as a photographer (in one of our interviews she said, "I want to start my own business, like, for wedding photography"), circulated their creative media creations in a specialized online community (Flickr), and undertook photography work for the local business of her aunt. In contrast, for Antonio, the media production practice remained more solitary and his music compositions did not circulate beyond the context of home. As a result, although the practice of computer music production fostered Antonio’s interest in digital media and allowed him to "mess around" with software and express in an aural modality, it did not really helped him to advance his assimilation trajectory. The different outcomes of the digital media production practice of Gabriela and Antonio, serve to illustrate how parenting styles, resources, and new media domestic environments shape the assimilation trajectories that Latino/Hispanic immigrant youth follow in the U.S. In particular, they reveal how the parenting styles and social, cultural, and economic resources of a family create possibilities for assimilating to different socioeconomic segments of the society and participating in digital culture with different degrees of power. In the case of Gabriela's family, the "concerted cultivation" style and semi-robust resources of her parents provided a system of support that gave her an advantage in their digital media production practice. As a result, she was able to maximize her participation in creative media production assimilating faster to the digital culture and higher socioeconomic segments. In her case, the transmedia navigation skill was not developed in isolation but had been supported by her family both financially (Mr. Garcia provided cameras, computer equipment, software, and specialized books) and socially. Not only had Mr. Garcia invested time with her going on photography trips around Austin metropolitan area, and money buying her professional equipment, but also other members of Gabriela’s extended family had encouraged and helped her to develop her talent and achieve in photography. Her uncle, for instance, who lived in San Francisco and was a young professional photographer visited her a couple of times, taught her informal lessons about lighting and composition, and provided her with several pictures Gabriela proudly hanged in her bedroom. Furthermore, Gabriela's aunt, who lived in the Austin metropolitan area and had a wedding cake business, gave her the opportunity to do photography work. As Gabriela explained, this opportunity allowed her to publish her photos in a portfolio that was shown to an audience. She said, "I took pictures of her cakes, because she does that for weddings, and so, like, I helped her one her portfolio for her cakes, and so I’m, like, she made an album out of my pictures I took. Q: Wow. A: Yeah. Q: So she shows that to all her clients. A: Yeah. Q: That’s cool. Did you put your name on it? A: Yes. She put my name on it." In contrast, the “accomplishment of natural growth” parenting style and fewer resources of the Chapa family had placed Antonio in a position of disadvantage. As a result, Antonio did not leverage his computer music production practice to fully participate in the digital culture beyond his living room. His participation in creative media production was solitary and characterized by the lack of sociocultural support. When talking about how he had developed his interest in computer music, Antonio could not even remember how he had started to use the computer for making beats. As he explained to me, "I don’t really know how I got into the music side, composing. I kind of just, after a while it just kind of grew on me when I got my first music software. And I don’t even know how I got in it, all I know is I got it off the Internet and I started making music." Although the quality of access at his home environment allowed him to find the digital tools he needed to start developing a creative media production, and actually had helped him find an interest, the lack of social, human, and cultural resources of his family placed him in a position where he could not figure out how to leverage his technical skills in a more social and economic way. For instance, he decided to not talk with his parents about his music production based on his belief that they could not helping him in any way. As Antonio explicated when I asked him about what his parents thought about the use of the home computer for making music, "They've seen it a couple times but I don't think they actually know what it is, because they're from Mexico, they grew up with very little technology" The lack of support he found at home, combined with Antonio's disengagement with school (he described himself as an "outcast") and low educational achievement, had contributed to an attitude towards sociocultural interactions in which he did not ask for help or tried to maximize his participation, even when it was done online. As a result, his media production practice remained very isolated at the context of his home, and minimally connected to niche online communities with similar interests. Although he had been able to find networked audiences/publics online that shared the computer music production interest, his interaction with them was limited to downloading cracked software (FL Studio and plug-ins), finding music in a variety of websites ("I found a lot of good artists in sites like SoundCloud, Beat Port, YouTube"), and watching video tutorials in YouTube. As his interaction with these online communities remained very minimal (he did not even feel the need of creating user accounts), he missed the opportunity to maximize his participation in digital culture and find social and human resources that could help him to develop his music production practice in a more social and cultural way. Hence, Antonio did not fully leverage the transmedia navigation skill he had developed at the level of rhetoric for advancing his assimilation process in the cultural and social dimensions. 3. Conclusions
Through this chapter I have tried to examine the complexity of the assimilation process of five working class Latino/Hispanic youths while focusing on the individual and structural factors that shaped family dynamics and parenting styles, and the agency they exercised at the family context. All these youths developed a kind of selective acculturation in which family dynamics were characterized by biculturalism, and where acculturation gaps between parents and youths did not generate major tensions. Further, according to the social, economic, cultural, and human resources they could access and mobilize at home, and the parenting styles of their families, these youths developed new media practices and skills that allowed them to advance their assimilation process to the U.S. Particularly, by developing the practices of homework, media consumption, and media consumption, and the new media skills of distributed cognition and transmedia navigation, all of the five youths advanced their process of assimilation in the cultural, linguistic, and educational dimensions. However, not all youths advanced their assimilation trajectories equally. Disparities in resources and differences in parenting styles shaped not only the quality and quantity of material and usage access to technology but as well the dispositions and motivations that youth had towards the educational and sociocultural dimensions of the assimilation process. Although all the five families had been assimilating to the U.S. working class, only the one of Gabriela was trying to actively move upwardly and assimilate to the dominant middle class. In contrast to the other family contexts, Gabriela had access to not only a new media-rich domestic environment but also to several social and cultural resources that her parents cultivated and mobilized for her (“concerted cultivation” parenting style). Gabriela had a system of support at home that was more robust than the one of the other four working class Latino/Hispanic immigrant families, and as a result the outcomes of her new media practices and skills were different especially in relation to educational achievement and the ability to maximize participation in digital culture. Hence, although all of the five working class Latino/Hispanic immigrant youth developed new media practices and skills at the context of home, variations in the speed of assimilation across the cultural dimension was noticeable and it was determined by socioeconomic factors.