Media Talk as Carnivalesque Performance: Young People's Media Engagements and the Fashioning of Identities
The presentation will explore how and to what extent young people's definitions of self, others, and relationships are shaped and inflected by the media-saturated contexts in which they grow. It will draw on data from extensive interviews with children and young adults conducted in Malta in the course of a larger project examining how young identities are fashioned by the changing contexts and contents of contemporary global media. The main argument combines Mikhail Bakhtin's concept of "the carnivalesque" with theories of performativity in order to make sense of how children and adolescents describe their TV and film viewing habits and preferences. It works from the premise that young people use their engagements with media texts and technologies as measures of their emerging maturity and cultural identity. These media engagements and the ways they are communicated are argued to play a key role in young people's evolving constructions of their social and cultural identities. The argument will be illustrated through examples of how younger children talk about adult TV content (especially representations of sex and violence); and of adolescents' perceptions of their own location within increasingly globalized media landscapes.
Keywords: Media, Identity, Children, Adolescents, Bakhtin, Carnivalesque
Dr Joe Grixti
Senior Lecturer, School of Social and Cultural Studies, Massey University