Conceptualizing Identity In Youth Media Arts Organizations: A Comparative Study

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Damiana Gibbons Pyles, Assistant Professor (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
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Abstract: In this article the authors explore the relationship between concepts of identity and the purpose, process, and products of youth media arts organizations. Since the explicit mission of these organizations is to work with adolescents to explore and represent identities, the authors develop our understanding of how organizations conceptualize identity development and how these concepts shape the digital film-making process and products. In a comparative case study of In Progress (St Paul, Minnesota) and Reel Works Teen Film-making (New York City), organizational leaders were interviewed, and a semiotic analysis conducted of the organizations' websites and other public, printed materials. The authors analyzed the films as products of these organizations' production processes to understand how these organizations define identity and what these definitions mean for how they do their work with youth. They found two distinct conceptualizations of identity: identity as community building, and identity as individualization. Unpacking these different conceptions helps us to understand how youth media arts organizations shape the identity development process and what is made possible for participating youth. This work can also lead us to more sophisticated models of adolescent identity development, particularly for non-mainstream communities who have often been saddled with dominant cultural models that do not quite fit.

Additional Information

Halverson, E. R., Lowenhaupt, R., Gibbons, D., & Bass, M. (2009). Conceptualizing Identity in Youth Media Arts Organizations: A Comparative Case Study. E-Learning and Digital Media, 6(1), 23–42. Publisher version of record available at:
Language: English
Date: 2009
teenagers, teen identity, youth media arts organizations, digital film-making, adolescent identity development

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