Childhood Constructions of Contemporary Technology: Using Discourse Analysis to Understand the Creation of Occupational Possibilities

Mary Silcock, Clare Hocking & Deborah Payne

Ten children aged 10-12 years were audio recorded discussing and demonstrating the types of technology they regularly used at home. A critical discourse analysis of the transcriptions was completed to identify dominant discourses the children deployed. Philosopher Michel Foucault’s theories on the history of existence, power relations, the subject, and ethics of the self informed the analysis. Three discourses were identified: virtual reality as a new dimension, panoptic play, and technological play as risky. The children appeared to assume subject positions within their play that have been created by and through their technology use. These subject positions were created by the unique historical context of the present era and have allowed new relations of power to develop for children. The discourses and associated discursive constructions appear to have an effect on the occupational possibilities available to children at this life course stage, indicating the emergence of norms of behaviour and relations of power unique to technological play.


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