Digital Youth Praxis and Social Justice
Giuliana Cucinelli, McGill University , Canada
McGill University . Awarded
The development of digital social media has altered the fabric of youth culture in terms of a young person's access to information and ability to communicate with a global audience. The conditions, opportunities, and limitations of using digital media are different for marginalized urban youth. In order to harness the educational value of digital media in the lives of disenfranchised youth, we must understand its potential as a means of empowerment.
This thesis draws together work in digital social media, youth culture, critical media education, and social justice to put forward a new pedagogical model (Digital Youth Praxis) that enables young people to engage in digital practices in order to address social problems that directly affect their lives. Digital Youth Praxis is a six-phase model, which is used to understand how the current digital practices of young people can be effectively managed within a participant-generated social justice pedagogy.
Through participatory action research, this thesis explores how young people between the ages of 14–27 learn and live in an era of media convergence. The research project gathered university, school, and community members to create a collaborative and safe space, which enabled the participants to learn how to engage by means of digital media.
The results have shown that the conditions of dialogue and collaborative learning enabled the participants to create digital media productions informed by social justice principles. These productions became a means of empowerment and collaborative learning. The Digital Youth Praxis approach represents a significant innovation in youth digital engagements in that it enables youth participants to draw from their own experience in order to create social change.
Cucinelli, G. Digital Youth Praxis and Social Justice. Ph.D. thesis, McGill University.
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