Part of the Volume on Digital Young, Innovation, and the Unexpected
This chapter argues that in order to understand the implications of how digital youth are now using new media and technologies in unexpected and innovative ways, we have to rethink many of the cultural oppositions that have shaped the Western tradition since the start of the modern era. To be precise, we can no longer base our analysis of culture, identity, and technology on the traditional conflicts between the public and the private, the subject and the object, and the human and the machine. Moreover, the modern divide pitting the isolated individual against the impersonal realm of technological mechanization no longer seems to apply to the multiple ways young people are using new media and technologies. In fact, this chapter argues that we have moved into a new cultural period of automodernity, and a key to this cultural epoch is the combination of technological automation and human autonomy.