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Class conditioning and class positioning in young people's everyday life with digital media: Exploring new forms of class-making in the Swedish media welfare state
Halmstad University, School of Health and Welfare, Centre of Research on Welfare, Health and Sport (CVHI), The Wigforss Group.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3070-4717
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Sweden is regularly highlighted as one of the most egalitarian and wired countries in the world. While this might be correct in the light of international statistical comparisons, there is also another side to the story. Despite years of policy reforms designed in order to counter the emergence and solidification of digital inequalities, this paper shows that economic and cultural forces are still at work structuring people’s internet access and digital media use along the lines of preexisting social divisions.

Drawing on Bourdieusian theory and qualitative interview data from two different research projects, the paper specifically sheds light on the ways in which social class shapes the conditions and configurations of digital media practice in the everyday life of young people in Sweden. In particular, Bourdieu’s conceptualization of social classes as defined both intrinsically (by their material conditions of existence) and relationally (by their position in relation to each other) is invoked in order to explore and elucidate two different but interrelated processes whereby class makes difference in young people’s everyday relationship to digital media: class conditioning and class positioning.

In order to illustrate the process of class conditioning, i.e. how certain material conditions of existence both condition and produce certain conditionings in relation to digital media practice, the paper draws mainly on in-depth interviews with parents and children conducted within a still ongoing project on digital media in economically deprived families with children. Class positioning is exemplified and discussed with reference to the findings of a completed qualitative study on the role of social class for young men’s digital media preferences and practices. The results of this study, based on interviews with 34 young men (16-19 years) of different social origin, clearly indicate how such preferences and practices are not only configured relationally in terms of class, but also potentially involved in the reproduction of the existing class structure.The ways in which the dual processes of class conditioning and class positioning are played out in the context of young people’s mediatized everyday life bear witness to the complexities involved in advancing a media policy geared towards general social welfare in the age of digital media. Universal internet penetration is a necessary but hardly sufficient condition for the abolishment of digital inequalities. The findings presented and discussed in this paper rather suggest that the ongoing proliferation of new media technologies and practices creates a rich soil for new forms of class-making.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
National Category
Media and Communications
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-38258OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-38258DiVA, id: diva2:1260736
Conference
7th European Communication Conference - Centres and Peripheries: Communication, Research, Translation, Lugano, Switzerland, October 31-November 3, 2018
Available from: 2018-11-05 Created: 2018-11-05 Last updated: 2018-11-09Bibliographically approved

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Danielsson, Martin

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf