Maltese children's construction of identities through their engagement with the media

Muscat, Gaetana (2013) Maltese children's construction of identities through their engagement with the media. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.


The aim of this study was to explore how children construct identity through their engagement with a variety of media and communication technologies. This research was conducted with ten children who were aged between nine and ten at the start of the study and lived in Malta, a small bilingual island in the Mediterranean. Over the past two decades, the media has become a central phenomenon in the lives of Maltese children and as with their counterparts abroad, they are provided with broader opportunities for social relationships and space to interact and construct identity. By adopting a social constructionist perspective, this study examined how Maltese children's engagement with the media contributes towards the construction of their identities and likewise, how it is shaped by their identities. The research design consisted of a series of online interactive sessions followed by small group interviews between the children and the researcher. The findings from this study showed that by actively engaging with the media, the children used various strategies to move through three stages, namely initiating, sustaining and extending the media experience. The researcher identified a number of discourses which the children drew upon in their engagement with the media, namely; an interplay between local and foreign media, parental regulations, intergenerational attitudes towards the media and perceptions of difference. This study has also identified three distinctive identity descriptors which are the learner, hobbyist and consumer. These identity descriptors could possibly be grouped as relating to social practices. Given the historical and cultural conditions of the Current era, they seem to emerge at an early age and could potentially last until later on in life.

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