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SAMF-Fagkomiteen for samfunnsvitenskap

Negotiating Identity in the Internet Age: the Case of Urban Youth in Today's China

Awarded: NOK 2.3 mill.

The development of new forms of ICT, especially the Internet, has fundamentally transformed the context of identity construction for today's young people and children, which may have significant implications for intercultural contact, community building, civic engagement and social integration, hence the future of our world. However, the ways in which young people negotiate and fashion identities for themselves within the Internet-transformed context, and the form of identities that may emerge from that p rocess, remains largely unclear. This study is part of a larger internationally orientated research project at the Institute of Educational Research, University of Oslo, entitled TransAction: learning, knowing and identity in the information society, whic h serves as an attempt to understand the influence of ICT, in particular the Internet, on today's young people. My study will focus on urban youths in today's China, who are meanwhile members of the first-generation young-adult only-children and whose liv es seem to be closely related to the Internet, the usage of which has seen an explosion in China in recent years. It thus hopes to shed light on questions concerning the issue of ICT and today's young people from the perspective of urban youth in China by exploring the ways in which these individuals (and groups) may appropriate this technology in negotiating their meaning making in the contemporary world. An overall question to explore then is: how the urban young people are negotiating their identity in the Internet-transformed social context. This overall question will be further investigated along two interrelated axes: the young people's perceptions and experiences of the Internet and the emerging forms of identity that may be discerned in their onli ne communication. Data will be collected both by means of semi-structured in-depth interviews and from the Internet communication forums.

Funding scheme:

SAMF-Fagkomiteen for samfunnsvitenskap