Portuguese youngsters and sexualized usages of new media

Abstract

There has been a growing body of research into youth and their sexualized use of technologies, especially focusing on pornography consumption and, more recently, sexting. As Alan McKee (2009) argues, oftentimes the results are heavily skewed by the presupposed social role of the media being consumed/produced; alongside that, a possibly outdated notion of how media effects operate tends to generate an ideological discourse that focuses on children and youngsters as holders of a purity that must be protected. On the other hand, participatory and emancipatory research into this area runs into many ethical problems that need to be worked around by researchers, in an attempt to bring forward the voices of those actually involved in these social practices, and how they make sense of their own actions.

The research and preliminary results from a survey to Portuguese emerging adults (16-18 year olds) attempt to address these matters in the particular context of a Catholic and sexually/morally conservative culture, as well as conceptualizing age and adolescence within the field of queer theory, in an effort to contradict the (post-modern) subject as completely legally and bodily developed and to understand both patterns of uses and also their contexts within those youngsters’ lives.

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