[Air-L] “Why Cyberbullying Rhetoric Misses the Mark"

Mark Chen markchen at u.washington.edu
Fri Sep 23 11:03:16 PDT 2011

danah and Alice,
Very great and very, very important.

@mcdanger | http://markdangerchen.net
On Sep 23, 2011 10:51 AM, "danah boyd" <aoir.z3z at danah.org> wrote:
> I wanted to share some exciting news...
> The New York Times just published an op-ed that Alice Marwick and I wrote
entitled “Why Cyberbullying Rhetoric Misses the Mark.”
> It's based on a new paper that we wrote called "The Drama! Teen Conflict,
Gossip, and Bullying in Networked Publics." The OII draft is available at
> http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1926349
> Paper Abstract: While teenage conflict is nothing new, today’s gossip,
jokes, and arguments often play out through social media like Formspring,
Twitter, and Facebook. Although adults often refer to these practices with
the language of “bullying,” teens are more likely to refer to the resultant
skirmishes and their digital traces as “drama.” Drama is a performative set
of actions distinct from bullying, gossip, and relational aggression,
incorporating elements of them but also operating quite distinctly. While
drama is not particularly new, networked dynamics reconfigure how drama
plays out and what it means to teens in new ways. In this paper, we examine
how American teens conceptualize drama, its key components, participant
motivations for engaging in it, and its relationship to networked
technologies. Drawing on six years of ethnographic fieldwork, we examine
what drama means to teenagers and its relationship to visibility and
privacy. We argue that the emic use of “drama” allows teens to distance
themselves from practices which adults may conceptualize as bullying. As
such, they can retain agency - and save face - rather than positioning
themselves in a victim narrative. Drama is a gendered process that
perpetrates conventional gender norms. It also reflects discourses of
celebrity, particularly the mundane interpersonal conflict found on soap
operas and reality television. For teens, sites like Facebook allow for
similar performances in front of engaged audiences. Understanding how
“drama” operates is necessary to recognize teens’ own defenses against the
realities of aggression, gossip, and bullying in networked publics.
> We're really excited about this research so I had to share...
> danah
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