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Broadband Society and Generational Changes


Edited By Fausto Colombo and Leopoldina Fortunati

The role generations play in accepting and shaping digital technologies, and possibly vice versa, is an increasingly relevant issue in contemporary society. For the first time in the academic debate, this volume outlines the theoretical issues and explores some results from empirical researches on the relationship between generations and the media in digital society. The first part of the book deals with the theoretical debate on generations, from Mannheim’s to the revisiting of some classical notions shaped by disciplines as history, demography, marketing and sociology. The second part gathers a selection of researches at international level, with particular attention to the European context. Though each research used specific methodologies, the main approaches focused on media domestication by young and old generations, and on the comparative analyses of different generations in adopting media.


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Part 2: Broadband Generations -95


Second Part: Generational Changes 97 Mariann Hardey ICTs and Generations – Constantly Connected Social Lives 1 The First Generation of Social Media Users The availability of ICT media has been associated with a ‘privileged elite’ and typically from middle-class households that had the financial means to be able to draw on a particular set of cultural resources to bring new technology into the home and to ensure access to the same resources at school (Becker, 2000; Holloway and Valentine, 2003; Livingstone, 1999). This relates to the broader debate about the nature of ‘cyberspace’ or a digital divide throughout the 1990s (Loader, 1998a; 1998b). In addition, class alignment and the age demographic of these young people have been used to characterise this group as ‘native’ or ‘natural’ technology users – a consequence of what Flacks (1971) identifies as the ‘generational effects’ of specific age cohorts. At the time of writing this paper, this group of young people are members of one of the most recent and popularised generational classifications – a ‘Generation Y’ (e.g. Mitchell, 2003; Rugimbana, 2007; Ramsey et al, 2007; Dann, 2007). Typically Generation Y refers to the identification of a new and everyday style of mass-marketised and individualistic consumerism. The recent Mobile Youth Report (2008) suggested how the use of mobile media is upheld by the cultural status of technology in the eyes of younger consumers. For Facer, et al. (2001, p.451), Generation Y members correspond to the 1990s ‘hype’ about the ‘myth of the cyberkid’ and the groups natural interest...

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