I am currently preparing for start writing chapter 4, about the internet context, and the practices and skills that Latino/Immigrant youth develop as they interact within this space. A space that is interconnected and networked. A unique ecosystem that has been changing fast, and that at the moment of the fieldwork has become mainstream among youth.
Participatory culture, new media literacies, and informal learning,
the worlds which a group of university students constructed for themselves through their choices of online resources and practices.
bridging -- not between white and Latino populations, but between minority populations (hip hop) and between different global populations (anime, manga).
a more diverse, multicultural society, which does not simply depend on a unified dominant culture into which the immigrant population can be assimilated.
what role these cultural materials play -- in distinguishing youth from their parent's culture, in forging ties with other youths who come from different cultural backgrounds -- and the ways they do or do not aid assimilation in ways which are institutionally valued.
cultural forms within other minority communities
Rebecca Black discusses some of these bridge-building potentials in her book on adolescents and fan fiction online, seeing anime fandom as a space where Asian contributors may interact more fully with dominant groups which shared their same tastes and interests.
what these youth are culturally doing, as much as "bridging," especially in terms of visual and music cultures. I would love to explore deeply this concept and use it.
illuminate the complexity of the assimilation process of contemporary immigrant youth in the U.S, especially, as you notice, the incorporation process to a new country in ways that are not institutionally valued.
Key questions for the chapter about the internet:
- what do they do online in terms of content consumption, content production, participation, active involvement, civics, learning?
- what are the outcomes of their internet practices, activities, experiences?
- how do these latino/hispanic immigrant youth benefit from their digital media uses?
- how do these practices help them in their assimilation process? to which dimensions of assimilation are they useful?
- digital media does help them to improve their life chances? to achieve social mobility?
- how do their disadvantaged position as immigrants, low income, low educational attainment, shapes their new media practices? their internet practices?
- what are the internet processes and skills that helped them to assimilate?
- why they do contribute to communities, networks and online activities? what are their motivations?
- how much do they post? how much do they share ? outcomes related to participation.
These questions should also be addressed in the introduction and conclusion of the dissertation, especially in relation to how their skills, socioeconomic backgrounds, educational attainment, families, interests, peers influenced, digital inequalities.
The conclusion should address the lack of resources, scaffolding, even if they had the motivations for social mobility, creative careers.
Continue organizing data and framework to chapter about the Internet. Still struggling with the shape it will have and its structure. The challenge is to keep it simple and avoid too much granularity given the amount of data. The skills developed by the participation in online activities or their experiences on the internet will be networking, negotiation, and play. However, those skills are not fully developed. I could even focus in just networking and negotiation and not address the gameplay. This will allow me to focus only on social media and few other sites.
In any case, it can be useful to describe how their participation remains at the level of observation and awareness, mostly, with some sporadic levels of engagement and action. Participation is fluid for them across the spaces they inhabit online, or better, the spaces that they visit.
Interestingly some of them are able to find many groups and interests, especially discovering music, movies, and tutorials, and liking them or subscribing to them. They can receive news from this groups, be aware of them, but they are not really engaged in the conversation. Remain as readers, not writers. Some of their groups are also mainly from school. They struggle, precisely, with interacting with other groups, with bridging their interests. That is precisely one of the limitations of their internet practice, they do travel different communities, but mostly like drifting, they dont stay, or remain anonymous, or decide to not fully engage. With the exception of some of the groups of the school in FB such as the CAP, the Drill Team, the AP world history, they do not really belong to other groups where they are active.
However, their network of friends, especially in the ones with a more diverse network of friends and groups, can lead to awareness of news, to engagement in certain issues, and to social participation. For instance, the people who took action on issues, eventually, were Sergio and Miguel. Eventually signed petitions and cared about the SOPA legislation.
The Tumblr experience of Gabriela remains like a unique experience that is personal and social, private and public, she follows people, re-tumblr, but does not comment. It is very observational and inspirational, but does not involve a dialogue. It is limited to liking, watching, and sharing, recirculating. Is that a public?
Can the subscriptions to Youtube channels, and the liking of FB pages be consider participation in groups? in publics? in audiences?
Do they connect across social groups? Maybe the best example is the one of Miguel, meeting people in the MMOOPG and then befriending them on FB. The other youth so not really do that successfully. Except perhaps for Inara in the Drill Team and the Sergio and Antonio at the CAP, although those connections are not very strong. But they do bridge across social groups.
Are they aware of how their connections empower them? How they helping them? It seems like they discover that in FB and that is why they decide to stay away from drama, block certain people. However, they do not seem aware of the importance of connections for developing their interests in some of their passions. They do not really take advantage of the affinity spaces online. Even if they do discover them, observe them, visit them, they do not fully become engage in them.