Here’s a proposal I’m considering sending in for an educational studies conference in October. The deadline is April 20. I appreciate any suggestions (ideas, grammar, spelling, etc.). The conference covers almost anything relatively related to education (cultural studies, foundations of education, sociology, technology studies, educational policy, etc.). Tell me what you think and also if this sounds like a paper presentation you’d enjoy attending. Thanks!

MySpace as Third Space

The current generation of adolescents (for our purposes, loosely defined as people born between 1987 and 1997) lives a greater portion of their lives online than any other generation preceding them. Recent articles and studies discuss issues such as acceptable use policies in educational settings, Internet safety, privacy, exhibitionism, voyeurism, anonymity and changes in interpersonal relationships among adolescents. For many in the general public, the popularity of MySpace, Facebook, blogging, and text messaging signal “the beginning of the end” of the interpersonal world as we know it. Many view this brave new world as dangerous, as we do not possess the same ,arguably delusional, sense of control as we do in the “real world.”

In my paper, I will argue that this virtual world acts as a third space for adolescents and can be developmentally helpful. Drawing on Bhabha (1994), I will compare the voices of adolescents to those of colonized peoples and emphasize the need for their thoughts to be heard in a context where preconceived notions of adolescence do not unnecessarily muffle their voices.