New Chapter: Growing Up in a World of Platforms

I’ve been writing a lot recently about platform socialisation. I’m interested in how the proliferation of platforms brings about fundamental changes in the process of socialisation, as well as how we respond to these normatively and educationally. This builds on a chapter which is coming out soon in the fourth volume of the Centre for Social Ontology’s second project:

While the notion of the ‘digital native’ has been widely critiqued on empirical, theoretical and political grounds, the conceptual structure of these arguments has received much less scrutiny. Through a critical engagement with the technologized essentialism which permeates lay and expert commentary on the implications of socio-technical innovation for emerging adults, I develop a conceptual framework (platform & agency) which avoids this tendency, built around the analysis of reflexivity and relations in tracing out interaction between people and technology over time in structured contexts. I apply this framework to the question of socialisation, developing the concept of ‘potential selves’ to explore the platform society as a cultural context for socialization. The generations growing up within a platformized world, the younger millennials and the ‘zoomers’ who are coming after them, cannot be adequately understood as either digital natives or digital narcissists. They do however confront some unique existential challenges which the economic, social and political ramifications of the crisis unfolding around us makes it even more urgent that we understand.

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