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Critical Youth Studies Reader

Preface by Paul Willis

Edited By Awad Ibrahim and Shirley R. Steinberg

This book won the 2014 AESA (American Educational Studies Association) Critics Choice Award.

This reader begins a conversation about the many aspects of critical youth studies. Chapters in this volume consider essential issues such as class, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, cultural capital, and schooling in creating a dialogue about and a conversation with youth. In a society that continues to devalue, demonize, and pathologize young women and men, leading names in the academy and youth communities argue that traditional studies of youth do not consider young people themselves. Engaging with today’s young adults in formal and informal pedagogical settings as an act of respect, social justice, and transgression creates a critical pedagogical path in which to establish a meaningful twenty-first century critical youth studies.
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32 Machinima: Gamers Start Playing Director

← 379 | 380 →CHAPTER 32


Despite early claims of being a short-lived fad, video games have proven they are here to stay. With revenues surpassing those of Hollywood box office receipts, the video game industry has emerged as a predominant fixture on our media landscape. As with previous new forms of media, the initial impulse has been to protect our children from the seemingly dangerous and addictive qualities of a medium we do not yet fully understand. Much of the rhetoric surrounding the dangers of video games (originating largely from the religious right and the various conservative watchdog groups) aims at categorically vilifying the medium as a threat to family values which celebrates violence and sex. The reality is that only 15 percent of games sold in the United States receive an M rating, which identifies a title as only suitable for ages 17 and older due to graphic violence or language.1 While games like Grand Theft Auto and Doom embody the high profile games that get covered by the media as cases of how violent video games have become, they actually represent only a fraction of the gaming market. The vast majority of video games being produced and sold look a lot more like Mario Kart and The Sims 2. So when we talk about video games, it is important to clarify that we cannot talk about them as a single form.

Refusing to adopt the popularly held opinions of video games as violent and addictive, media literacy scholars like Buckingham et...

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