Consuming Talk: Youth Culture and the Mobile Phone
O’Brien, Morgan (2010) Consuming Talk: Youth Culture and the Mobile Phone. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.
The growth in mobile phone use over the past decade and the commensurate advent of mobile phone culture can be seen as interrelated with contemporary youth culture. This thesis addresses how young people make use of the mobile phone in their everyday lives, and how these practices demonstrate forms of cultural creativity and agency. Youth culture is identified then as a culture of consumption, through which young people can express and enact their own preferences and values. In response to imposed forms of social organisation and control, youth cultural practices, such as the use of the mobile phone, provide a means through which young people actively participate in the construction of their own everyday experiences. While youth culture is a site of corporate-driven commodification, it is also an arena in which young people themselves are active and participatory. For example, through their use of the mobile phone, young people manage and negotiate increased forms of autonomy from, in particular, parental monitoring and control. Equally, the mobile phone allows young people to perform and maintain peer group associations, through which forms of solidarity, identification and differentiation are created. Through this active use of commodities young people create vibrant forms of cultural life. However, rather than offering direct forms of resistance against their social position, I argue that these cultural practices are a means through which young people are ‘resilient’ within this context. These practices provide a way through which young people express agency within, rather than against, particular sets of social and cultural contexts.
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