New Chapter: Vivienne, S., Robards, B. & Lincoln, S. (2016) ‘”Holding a space” for gender-diverse and queer research participants’, in A McCosker, S Vivienne and A Johns (eds), Negotiating Digital Citizenship: Control, Contest and Culture, Rowman & Littlefield, pp. 191-212.
In this chapter we consider two distinct research projects in which we work alongside young people to analyse their digital self-representations. Building upon the introduction of this book and, more particularly, the themes of this section on cultures that evoke Digital Citizenship, we see both ‘citizenship’ and ‘digital engagement’ as a broad suite of practices and processes that underpin meaningful belonging in modern networked society. For young people, sculpting a presence online is a rite of passage that takes place well before they are entitled to vote, drive a car, or live independently, and entails complex negotiations with family, friends, authority figures and institutions, as well as unknown individuals and communities. Being a Digital Citizen summons young people (and indeed all of us) to manage the contradictory expectations of different groups: peers, family, partners, prospective employers, and others. Further, Digital Citizenship summons researchers to consider the complex lives of our research participants and the consequences of re-contextualising their digital traces, relocated far from their embedded social context to scholarly publications and discussions.