Making sense of young people, education and digital technology: the role of sociological theory

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This paper considers the contribution of sociological theory to the academic study of young people, education and digital technology. First it discusses the shortcomings of the technological and socially determinist views of technology and education that prevail in current academic and policy discussions. Against this background the paper outlines the benefits of a number of different sociological perspectives on the social shaping of technology that, despite their popularity in other areas of science and technology studies, have been employed rarely in analyses of educational technology. In particular the paper outlines the provenance of theoretical approaches such as the social construction of technology, studies of domestication of digital technologies, feminist critical theory and the political economy of technology. Drawing on all these theoretical traditions the scene is then set for future empirical and theoretical examinations of young people s use of digital technology in formal and informal educational settings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81 - 96
Number of pages16
JournalOxford Review of Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

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