Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Controlling the Assault: On- and Offline

In the modern Risk Society where traditional forms of support and authority such as the family, trades unions, religious belief and the like are often crumbling away, while anthropogenic risks and impacts are increasing, we are all under continual assault - mental and physical - often with little or no back-up other than our own resources. Danah Boyd has been talking with some young women in the US to find how they cope with the threats that Facebook brings along with its more widely promoted promises of benefit:

“ [T]hese girls live in high-risk situations. Their lives aren’t easy and they’re just trying to have fun. But they want to have fun with as little trouble as possible. They don’t want people in their business but they’re fully aware that people are nosy. They’re very guarded in general; getting them to open up even a teensy bit during the interview was hard enough. Given the schools that they’re at, they’ve probably seen far more trouble than they’re letting on. Some of it was obvious in their stories. Accounts of fights breaking out in classes, stories of classes where teachers simply have no control over what goes on in the room and have given up teaching, discussions of moving from school to school to school. These girls have limited literacy but their street smarts are strong. And Facebook is another street where you’ve got to always be watching your back.”

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