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The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies, 7 Volume Set by Fabienne Darling-Wolf, Radhika Parameswaran, Erica Scharrer, Vicki Mayer, Sharon Mazzarella, Kelly Gates, John Nerone, Angharad N. Valdivia

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23

Mapping ICT Adoption among Latin American Youth

Rosalía Winocur and Carolina Aguerre

ABSTRACT

In this chapter, Rosalía Winocur and Carolina Aguerre show how virtual communities and online social networks have been legitimized as new forms of visibility, recognition, and social inclusion among young people in Latin America. “To be or not to be part of something” and to be accepted or rejected for “forming or not forming a part of it” are core themes in the process of identity construction among Latin American youth, both online and offline. Faced with the difficulties of inclusion in the traditional institutions – particularly those related to training, employment, and access to power – young people adopt information and communication technologies (ICTs) in order to create alternative avenues to inclusion. The authors suggest that, by developing flexible and mobile strategies of ICT use and generating their own informal circuits of inclusion at the margins, young people may find avenues to gain access to the formal channels and privileged spaces of ICTs. In short, this chapter argues that Internet and mobile platforms are compensatory symbolic substitutes for the lack of real power these young people have in everyday life.

Introduction

The emergence and dissemination of information and communication technologies (ICTs) during the last two decades has promoted the expression “information society” to characterize this age. In Latin America, as in most developing regions, the ...

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