Creating while Black : digital participation, digital expressions, and cultural capital among Black teens in Austin, Texas




Williams, Adam Clark, III

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Austin is recognized for its plurality of cultures and technology-rich landscape. Thus, it is home to various youth digital literacy programs and resources targeting its socially and economically disadvantaged population. These efforts help to narrow the gap in digital participation between the city’s privileged and disadvantaged classes. My dissertation explores the participatory cultures of Austin’s Black youth within production-based spaces to determine how their digital expressions allow them to accumulate or utilize cultural capital. Cultural capital has been used in different contexts to understand the complexities of wealth amongst marginalized groups. Taking an ethnographic approach, this study draws from focus groups and interviews of Black teens (aged 13 to 19; both male and female) to qualitatively analyze their digital expressions and the perceived benefits of these expressions to their lives, future opportunities, and career paths. I seek a deeper understanding of how and why this youth demographic engages in creating particular digital contents as well as the significance of the cultural capital that they generate and utilize as a result


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