August, 4, 2013

From Dissertation in Progress
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One of the most important contributions of this research project is to describe the kind of participation that youth from not-privileged positions have in the online and offline worlds. The Latino/Hispanic youth that are part of this research project are all digital media users and creators of content. However, most of them decide to not share their creations online. Although they feel creative making pictures, videos, and music tracks, the majority of them do not share them online. They also are not very into joining forums or bulletin boards for discussing topics of interests or learn about a new craft. They relate to the internet mostly as seekers of information. Their search activities are some of the most important ones they do online. Another important activity is entertainment, mostly listening to music videos in youtube. They do use the internet for learning things, but they do it mostly through video tutorials. For the ones who are active in facebook, they seem to enjoy curating content from the web, as in a scrapbook fashion that is multimodal. How can we understand their lack of sharing? lack of joining communities? Why they do not participate in online communities of practice? Why do they stay away from interest groups? They seem to just relate to the mainstream websites and platforms and feel not empowered to participate on them. Why? Their vision of the web is as something that is fixed, not editable, not writable. They mostly read the web, watch the videos and listen to music. Some of them play games, but not all.

I would like to be able to create a compelling narrative of each of the case studies I will do. Given the ethnographic work I and the research team have done, and all the qualitative data, it would be a pity to not take advantage of the texture of the everyday lives that we have capture. Thinking about how to do that I have realized that maybe it would be great to focus on some of the particular devices that each subject has used through his/her life. Bellow is a very short list about the ones I see as powerful objects for structuring a narrative:

  • Gabriela : photography camera and laptop.
  • Antonio : guitar and home computer.
  • Sergio : home computer and ipod touch.
  • Javier : video camera lent by mr lopez.
  • Inara : sewing machine and smart phone.
  • Diego : video game computer, electric guitar, trumpet, and yugioh cards.
  • Miguel and Marcus : home computer (small planet game) and video game consoles.