Part of the Volume on Youth, Identity, and Digital Media
Clicking, posting, and text messaging their way through a shifting digital landscape, young people are bending and blending genres, incorporating old ideas, activities, and images into new bricolages, changing the face, if not the substance, of social interaction and altering how they see themselves and each other. From data collected in Britain, Canada, and South Africa, we have selected cases that involve a range of technologies and contexts, from adult-mediated activities in schools and community centers to spontaneous media production done in private at home. Whether it be postings on websites, improvisations in video production, or the incorporation of objects in a multi-media presentation, these cases illustrate that, like digital cultural production, identity processes are multifaceted and in flux, constructed and deconstructed through a process of bricolage that we label as "identities-in-action." Analysis of the cases reveals certain shared features of digital production that contribute to identities-in-action: the "constructedness" of production, the collective and social aspects of individual productions, the neglected but crucial element of embodiment, the reflexivity and negotiation involved in producing and consuming one's own images, the creativity in media convergence, and the value of constructivist models of learning.