Generations and Media: The Social Construction of Generational Identity and Differences

Nicoletta Vittadini, Andra Siibak, Irena Reifová, Helena Bilandzic

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in libroChapter

23 Citazioni (Scopus)


The chapter aims to illuminate the relationship between the condition of permanent transformation of audiences (and technological media landscape) and the social formations called “generations”. The chapter is based on the idea that “generational identity” or “generational belonging”, based on social relationships (mediated or not), define the social significance of generations (Edmunds and Tuner 2002). They are both affected by media use and in turn affect audience practices of different generations (Aroldi 2010). Although we start by dividing the literature on the relationships between media and generations into technological (-deterministic) approaches (Tapscott 1998) and socio (-deterministic) approaches (Buckingham 2006), a shared idea is that media (technologies) and the “communicative affordances” (Hutchby 2001) experienced by different generations during their formative years contributes in co-shaping generational identities as audiences. Media representations, media repertoires, and media technologies contribute to defining the particular “generational semantic” and identity of generations (Aroldi 2011; Colombo 2011). At the same time, media experience in the formative years shapes audience practices of a generation in the course of the whole lifecycle of its members. Hence, each generation develops different relationships with media in accordance to the media system (economic, cultural, technological) experienced during the formative phase. The second part of the paper focuses on theory and research conducted in different countries describing how media representations and media uses contributes in building a “generational identity” (e.g. fostering social relations between member of the same generation) and similarities and differences of generations as media audience and it’s consumption/produsage (Bruns 2006) practices. The third part of the paper is dedicated to analysing in deep the role of computer-mediated communication (social networks, instant messaging), mobile technologies and web 2.0 tools (blogs) in co-shaping social relationships among different generations (Siibak 2009; Siibak & Ugur 2010; Vittadini 2010), and act as platforms for building a common peer culture. In conclusion, the chapter describes how the understanding of audience evolution can be implemented by the analysis of differences among generations and their relationships with media. Audience, at present, is composed by people belonging to different generations who use media in different ways. This topic then has particular relevance in understanding links among media use and social relations referring both to the role that media contents have in shaping generational identities (through representations, but also through shared memories and for younger generations trough content sharing) and in building relationship among members of different generations (e.g. inside families).
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteAudience Transformations. Shifting Audience Positions in Late Modernity
Numero di pagine17
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2013

Serie di pubblicazioni

NomeRoutledge Studies in European Communication Research and Education


  • Audience
  • Audiences
  • Generations
  • Generazioni
  • Media


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