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Contemporary Youth and the Postmodern Adventure - page 9 / 16





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might be elements of opposition and resistance to mainstream culture in youth subcultures, such counterculture might not be progressive and must be interrogated in specific cases concerning its politics and effects.

Of course, one needs to distinguish between a postmodern culture produced by youth itself which articulates its own visions, passions, and anxieties, and media culture produced by adults to be consumed by youth. One also needs to distinguish between youth cultures that are lived and involve immediate, participatory experience as opposed to mediated cultural experience and consumption, and to be aware that youth cultures involve both poles. Moreover, one should resist either reducing youth cultures merely to cultures of consumption or glorifying youth culture as forces of resistance. It is best instead to ferret out the contradictions and the ways that youth cultures are constructed by media and consumer culture and the ways that youth in turn constructs its own communities.

The Internet, Computer Culture, and New Politics

"A community will evolve only when a people control their own communication." Frantz Fanon

The Internet and multimedia computer technologies and cultural forms are dramatically transforming the circulation of information, images, and various modes of culture, and the younger generation thus needs to gain multifaceted technological skills to survive in the high-tech information society (Best and Kellner, 2001 and Kellner 2002). In this situation, students should learn both how to use computer culture to do research and gather information, as well as to perceive it as a cultural terrain which contains texts, spectacles, games, and interactive media which require a form of critical computer literacy. Youth subcultural forms range from ‘zines or web-sites that feature an ever-expanding range of video, music, or multimedia texts to sites of political information and organization.11

Moreover, since the 1999 Seattle anti-corporate globalization demonstrations, youth have been using the Internet to inform and debate each other, organize oppositional movements, and generate alternative forms of politics and culture, some examples of which we discuss below. Consequently, we would argue that computer literacy involves not merely technical skills and knowledge, but the ability to scan information, to interact with a variety of cultural forms and groups, and to intervene in a creative manner within the emergent computer and political culture. Whereas youth is excluded for the most part from the dominant media culture, computer culture is a discursive and political location in which youth can intervene, engaging in discussion groups, creating their web sites, producing multimedia for cultural dissemination, and generating a diversity of political projects. Computer culture enables individuals to actively participate in the production of culture, ranging from discussion of public issues to creation of their own cultural forms, enabling those who had been previously excluded from cultural production and mainstream politics to participate in the production of culture and socio-political activism.

After using the Internet to successfully organize a wide range of anti-corporate


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