SOCIAL MEDIA, LONDONRIOTS ANDREPRESENTATION OFYOUTHS
RE CAP OF THEORYSO FAR…Stan Cohen • Moral Panics • Deviance amplification • Folk devilsDavid Gauntlett • “Identities are not „given‟ but are constructed and negotiated.”
DAVID BUCKINGHAM“A focus on identity requires us to pay close attention to thediverse ways in which media and technologies are used ineveryday life, and their consequences for both individualsand for social groups”AIMS OF LESSON- To examine the use of social media and how it contributedto the construction of representation of youths during theLondon riots.
MICHEL FOUCAULTFor Foucault, people do not have a real identity withinthemselves; thats just a way of talking about the self - adiscourse.An identity is communicated to others in your interactions withthem, but this is not a fixed thing within a person. It is ashifting, temporary construction.Power is something which can be used and deployed byparticular people in specific situations, which itself will produceother reactions and resistances; and isnt tied to specific groups oridentities.Power outcomes are not inevitable and can be resisted.
APPLYING FOUCAULTThe discourse in our instance is the justice and equality enforcedby the press and news broadcasts.The power in our instance is the mass media.Consider:To what extent was space given to young people within thediscourse?If, as Foucault states, power outcomes can be resisted, how didyoung people show resistance to the power?
INVESTIGATIVEQUESTIONSDoes it fuel identity? Or is it a form of democratisation?Can media and technology be seen as a means of surveillanceand control for authorities?
COLLECTIVE IDENTITY –DEFINITION„The concept of a collective identity refers to a set ofindividuals sense of belonging to the group or collective. Forthe individual, the identity derived from the collective shapesa part of his or her personal identity. It is possible, attimes, that this sense of belonging to a particular group willbe so strong that it will trump other aspects of the personspersonal identity.‟Collective Identity.net
SOURCE:HTTP://UK.REUTERS.COM/ARTICLE/2011/08/10/UK-BRITAIN-RIOTS-HACKNEY-IDUKTRE77942520110810Britains mainstream media have seized on the stereotype ofhooded, unemployed, violent youth as the culprits. Demonization of youths
SOURCE:HTTP://UK.REUTERS.COM/ARTICLE/2011/08/10/UK-BRITAIN-RIOTS-HACKNEY-IDUKTRE77942520110810The mass media repeat the term „feral youth‟, „shoppingviolence‟, „thugs‟, „yobs‟. However it is worth remembering that….…among a large number of detained rioters that kept one Londoncourt busy throughout the night were a graphic designer, agraduate student and someone about to join the army.A far cry from the representation portrayed by much of the massmedia.
SOCIAL MEDIA• Used primarily by the „younger generation‟• Despite being depicted by tabloids as mindless thugs, rioters were also seen as skillful enough to co- ordinate their actions via Facebook, Twitter and Blackberry.• During the riots social media was seen as posing a threat to social order.• Used to organise gangs to riot against police.
BLACKBERRYSA recent Ofcom report highlighted BlackBerrys as the mostpopular handset among 16-24 year olds, mainly because thehandsets are affordable and BBM is private and free.
ROLE OF BBM• Blackberry smartphone of choice for the majority (37%) of British teens, according to last weeks Ofcom study• For many teens armed with a BlackBerry, BBM has replaced text messaging because it is free, instant and more part of a much larger community than regular SMS.• And unlike Twitter or Facebook, many BBM messages are untraceable by the authorities
CAN MEDIA AND TECHNOLOGY BESEEN AS A MEANS OFSURVEILLANCE AND CONTROL FORAUTHORITIES?• Tottenham MP David Lammy called for companies to suspend their services.• Some called for the internet to be „turned off‟. • Can you simply ‘turn off’ the internet? • Could this been seen as an exertion of power over young people?
INVESTIGATIVEQUESTIONDoes it fuel identity? Or is it a form of democratisation? • Blackberry phone is a status symbol and is used by 37% of British teens • Social media enabled gangs of youths to organise riots anonymously using BBM. • Could be argued that youths wanted to protest against government cuts, unemployment, high tuition fees etc. and social media enabled them to do so.
POSITIVE LIGHT?• Social media is accessible to all.• Social media lowers the barriers to expression.• Social media has created more opportunities for people to have their say.• Scholar Henry Jenkins celebrates these kinds of „participatory‟ media and argues that a “participatory culture is one in which members believe their contributions matter, and feel some degree of social connection with one another. Participatory culture shifts the focus of literacy from one of individual expression to community involvement."• Some even see this as evidence of democratisation.
NATIONAL COUNCIL FORVOLUNTARY YOUTHSERVICES• NCVYS is the independent voice of the voluntary and community youth sector• Shortly after the riots they started a photo album in response the negative representation of youth called „Not in my name‟
SOCIAL MEDIA ANDREPRESENTATION OFYOUTH•Social media was used in many positive ways. • Offers youths a voice to challenge authority and stereotypical representations of themselves. • According to the ideas of Henry Jenkins, a participatory culture (through social media) can create social connections and create community involvement. • We saw this community involvement in the clean up after the riot and also the Not in my name campaign by NCVYS.
SOCIAL MEDIA ANDREPRESENTATION OFYOUTH•The difference with Twitter and Facebook is that they are alwayson, and real-time in a way that even television often isn‟t.•But the real power comes from the connections that such toolsallow between individuals: people who may not even know eachother, but become part of a much larger phenomenon via theirsocial connections and their ability to communicate quickly andeasily. • Riot clean up – positive representation of youths • BBM to organise riots – threat to social order
SOCIAL MEDIA ANDREPRESENTATION OFYOUTH•That can help citizens rise up against their dictatorialgovernments • Offers youths a voice and can respond to representations constructed by the mass media.•However it can also help thugs and thieves take advantage of acause to create panic and disorder. • As seen with the use of BBM to organise riots.
FURTHERCONSIDERATIONSIf young people feel they are being misrepresented and feel thatthey don‟t have a voice then they will feel disengaged withsociety. However social media can give them that voice.Steve Anderson, creative director of debate show Free Speechfor BBC 3 states that „Younger people are becoming a lot more empowered because of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and blogging.‟He goes on to say that the power is transferring away from olderpeople in charge of producing the media, to the audience itself(through social media).
RE CAP | DAVIDBUCKINGHAM“A focus on identity requires us to pay close attention to the diverseways in which media and technologies are used in everyday life, andtheir consequences for both individuals and for social groups”-This argument helps to support some of the issues raised this session.- Mass media tends to project negative representations of youths through theimagery and language used during reports.-The people who produce the media (may!) be of an older generation withtraditional values and have a „top down‟ approach to media productionoffering young people little room for their voice to be heard and thusreinforcing the negative image portrayed.-Youths want to have a voice and feel empowered by social media whichenables them to challenge authority (although not always in a positive way).-The power, it could be argued, is shifting. Through social media, afairer, more democratic society could emerge.
DISCUSSION ANDACTIVITY• Using your research so far discuss the following questions: • How far were the responses of the rioters themselves given space in the media? • Given the general framing of young people as the key participants in the events, how much space was given to young peoples‟ voices – and what sorts of young people were given space to respond in the media debates? • To what extent did social media challenge or confirm representations of youth identity in the mass media during the time of the London riots? • Discuss the positive and negative. • Use examples and theory to illustrate your argument.