Design and Participation Across Young People’s Online Spaces

Berriman, Liam. 2013. Design and Participation Across Young People’s Online Spaces. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis explores the growth of online spaces for children and young people, and examines the shifting position of young people as participants and economic agents in new media markets. Through a series of ethnographic case studies, this thesis investigates how online spaces for young people are designed and developed, and provides a close examination of how, and on what terms, young people are enrolled and mobilised within production processes. As this thesis will demonstrate, media corporations are increasingly framing young people as key participants within the product development process – attempting to mobilise and harness user activities to productive ends. Rather than focus on user activities as confined to the ‘moment’ of consumption, this thesis seeks to explore user participation as distributed throughout the course of an online space’s development. Each of the case studies of this thesis are located at key points in the development of an online space, taking place at specific spatial and temporal junctures in the product’s unfolding biography. At each of these junctures, this thesis looks at the specific configurations of young people’s agency and examines how their ability to participate in the development of an online space is defined and shaped. More broadly, this thesis critically engages with existing perceptions of children and young people as on the periphery of economic markets. Drawing on media and consumer studies, the sociology of childhood, actor-network theory, and new economic sociology, this thesis develops a theoretical approach that views young people as deeply embedded within the design and economic processes of new media markets.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

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Design; New Media; online; games; virtual worlds; children; young people; youth; participation

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Date Deposited:

25 Jun 2014 12:27

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 13:48


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