DIGITAL MEDIA AND RECONSIDERING THE BOUNDARIES OF YOUTH IN JAPAN AND SOUTH KOREA

Thursday, November 19, 2015: 1:45 PM-3:30 PM

Mineral Hall E (Hyatt Regency)

This panel explores practices and discourses on and about digital media and how these pertain to the shifting boundaries of youth—boundaries of who are and what it means to be “youth”; ethical boundaries of what is acceptable for young people to express; political boundaries of who and what constitute the left, the right and everything in between. The rapid development of digital media have closely interwoven with the emergence of flexible subjects accompanied by flexible accumulation of late capitalism in many different locales globally, including in Japan and South Korea. This panel examines the way in which digital media have been instrumental as people attempt to reflect on the social changes they have lived and are living out day by day. This panel explores how and why youth have come to be central to newly emerging media cultures, refusing to take for granted the reasons why youth are the most active participants and producers of the new media by assuming that it is natural that a young generation is keener on new technologies than older age groups. Instead, this panel will analyze what they do with the new media technologies in relation to their politico-economic conditions. Further, we will consider “youth” itself as an unstable category. This panel thus starts with questions such as: What are the conditions of youthfulness in a given locale? How do youth identify themselves and how are they identified by others? And, what roles do new media technologies play in their experiences of being youth? The rapid development of digital media in Japan and South Korea over the last couple of decades offers rich soil to explore the inquiry this panel will attempt to address. While each locale has developed its own unique youth and media culture, Japan and South Korea also share commonalities, especially because of their long history of complex interactions including, colonial modernity as well as the increasing interconnectivity that new media technologies have brought about. This panel seeks to create a dialogue about the complex interplay among youth, the new media, and social transformations that have taken place in Japan and South Korea. The papers presented in this panel particularly pay attention to the way in which this interplay deconstructs and reconstructs social boundaries such as nationality, queer identity, winners/losers, and normative ideas of social development. These boundaries have played an important role in shaping how youth are defined as a certain generation embodying politico-economic conditions at given times as well as how people categorized as youth experience themselves in such conditions. The new media offer an arena where social boundaries which were once familiar are contested, negotiated, and reconfigured into something new and strange. The new strange, however, also contains the old familiar, despite variations that media technologies add. Scrutinizing the familiar/strange of social boundaries mediated by digital media will help us to problematize truth regimes of our era, ones that normalize and legitimize the conditions of late capitalism.

This session would be of particular interest to:
Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges, Students

Organizers:  Sunyoung Yang (University of Toronto)

Chairs:  Andrea G. Arai (University of Washington)

Discussants:  Jesook Song (University of Toronto)

1:45 PM
Online and Off Center: The Strange-Familiar of Japanese Youth and 2Channel 
Andrea G. Arai (University of Washington)

2:00 PM
For Japan Only?: On the Crossing and Re-Inscribing of Boundaries in the Online Circulation of Adult Computer Games 
Patrick William Galbraith (Duke University)

2:15 PM
Like Stars Online, Facing Discrimination Offline: Young Women’s Exploration of Sexual Identity Online and Its Limits in Neoliberal South Korea 
Layoung Shin (University of California, San Diego)

2:30 PM
Korean Internet Freak Youth and Their Politics of Loser Aesthetics 
Sunyoung Yang (University of Toronto)

2:45 PM
Discussion 

3:00 PM
Discussant 
Jesook Song (University of Toronto)

3:15 PM
Discussion 

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