Conservative, Competitive, or Connected
Our final chapter develops normative concerns, to ask what can be said about the prospects for connected living and learning in the digital age. Our portrait of young people’s lives is in many senses a heartening one—they are generally sensible, thoughtful, and optimistic; doing reasonably well at school; largely happy at home; and having fun with friends. Encouragingly, we find rather little evidence of the competitive individualism that critics of neoliberalism fear, although we do show how the school especially seeks to instill competition into school life. We find more evidence of an adherence to conservative structures and comfortable pleasures. Is this, inadvertently, sacrificing the potential for radical alternatives that could undermine the seeming straitjacket of social reproduction, reconfigure pedagogic possibilities, and open up more diverse connections and pathways to opportunity? We conclude with some futuristic thinking about how parents, teachers, governments and media organizations could help to build better futures for today’s children and young people.
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