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11 NOVEMBER 2009

Young People, Identity and the Media

"This thesis seeks to investigate young people's perceptions of their own identities and how the media is used to shape their conceptions of self, with specific focus on the understandings held by young people themselves....

A discussion of creative and visual methods within social research introduces the methodology undertaken as part of this study. Young people aged 13 to 14, of contrasting class and ethnic backgrounds, drawn from schools across Dorset, Hampshire and London were invited to create identity collages using media materials that expressed 'how I see myself' and 'how I think other people see me', and provided their own interpretations of this work within unstructured interviews. The 111 identity collages produced and accompanying reflective commentaries formed a body of data upon which the findings of this thesis are based.

The analysis reveals that young people view their identities as complex, contradictory and diverse, and demonstrate a reflexive awareness of their own sense of self as a phenomenon which is personally constructed, continually revised and displayed to others. The study highlights the importance of role models, and how individuals understand their own identities, more strongly than previous studies of young people and the media. It suggests that the media functions as a resource young people use to conceptualise and formulate their present identities, as well as articulate possible future selves."

(Fatimah Awan, PhD thesis, completed in 2007)

Fatimah Awan. (2007). Young People, Identity and the Media. Poole, Bournemouth University.

Title Page, Abstract, Acknowledgements, Contents, List of Figures, List of Tables
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Representation
Chapter 3: Understanding Audiences
Chapter 4: Creative and Visual Research
Chapter 5: Methodology
Chapter 8: Gender and Individualism
Chapter 9: Role Models
Chapter 7: Conclusion
Appendix A: Collages
Appendix B: Interview Transcripts
Extra Finding: The Enabling Power of Creative and Visual Research Methods


2007 • ArtLab • audiencebelongingBournemouth Universitychildrenconceptualisation • creative and visual methods • cultural codescultural signalscultureDorset • ethnic minority • ethnicity • future selves • Hampshire • identityLondonmediamedia researchmethodologyPhD • reflective commentaries • reflexivityrepresentationsocial classsocial constructionismsocial researchsocietythesisUKunstructured interviewsyoung people


Simon Perkins

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