NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED567574
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 331
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3038-3147-8
Empowered Youth: The Co-Creation of Youth as Technological Citizens and Consumers within Community-Based Technology Programs
Pabst, Johanna K.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Boston College
The purpose of this study is to investigate the new media ecologies of urban, low-income youth and youth of color, and how they develop literacies and competencies around technology in the particular spaces of Community Technology Centers (CTCs), while placing them within their broader technological experiences and raced, classed, and gendered identities. This study builds on the concept of youth as experiencing a "new media ecology" in which youth engagement with technology is understood as a phenomenon which connects all spheres of experience. Through this work, I refine the understanding of how marginalized young people engage with technology in order to expand our understanding of digital inequality and its effects, as well as how digital inequality and inclusion interact with young people's identities and social worlds more broadly. Young people, marginalized by their raced, classes, and gendered identities, are both accused of being wasteful in their technology engagement, and are welcomed into these non-traditional learning spaces in order to cultivate their uses of technology into more meaningful and productive outcomes. There is a growing proliferation of informal and creative digital learning programs, and corresponding research and interrogation of the activities within these spaces. However, we lack a full and holistic understanding of who these young people are as technological citizens and consumers, an understanding that is necessary to inform effective interventions around digital inequality. Through qualitative research within two Boston-area Community Technology Centers, including participant observation and interviews, this study presents an analysis of how young people as agentic individuals interact with the contexts they enter into to produce new forms of agency and disempowerment. Rather than focusing on one area of the digital learning environment or youth technological experience, as other researchers have done, I delineate a more complete and dialogic view of less-advantaged young people and their technological engagement. My findings build on the need for supportive informal technology learning environments for marginalized youth, both in terms of providing stable environments with rich resources for technological exploration and skill-building, as well as providing learning environments which valorize and encourage youth agency and identity work. It is also necessary to recognize and allow for differences among youth in these spaces, who vary not only in terms of race, class, and gender, but also skills, abilities, interests, and motivations. I also call attention to the ways in which structural inequalities enter into these informal learning environments, resulting in their reproduction. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts (Boston)