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    Discourses of digital difference: a discursive study of the relationship between media representations of age and digital life and the identity work of ‘older’ digital professionals

    Shukis-Brown, Christine (2022) Discourses of digital difference: a discursive study of the relationship between media representations of age and digital life and the identity work of ‘older’ digital professionals. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    Abstract

    This research explores the relationship between wider media discourses linking age and digital life and the identity work of ‘older’ professionals working in the digital technology sector. It synthesises wider discursive explorations of age-technology identifications with accounts from a professional group charged with designing, developing, and delivering contemporary digital platforms and products. The digital technology sector is the fastest growing sector in the UK economy (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, 2020). While age is firmly legislated for and located within a wider workplace diversity agenda, media reports of age discrimination and bias within this sector persist (Hymowitz & Burnson, 2016; Wickre, 2017) alongside speculation on whether, and to what extent such ideas are socially perpetuated (Iversen and Wilisńka, 2020). Through the analysis of UK online news media and participant interviews conducted via a longitudinal study, this study explores the recursivity and interdiscursivity of unifying age-technology discourses between online news media texts and the identity accounts of older digital technology professionals. Using a longitudinal critical discourse analysis, I explore how technology is enrolled in the reproduction and reification of age difference more broadly through the generational construct and how such discursive linkages persist and evolve over time. I describe the ways such discourses are manipulated by this professional group as they negotiate their identity work as an older digital technology worker. This study contributes to qualitative research through a methodologically original longitudinal study drawing on online data research methods. This research responds to calls for challenge to the generational construct particularly in work contexts (Parry and Urwin, 2021) and explores the identity work of a burgeoning, under-researched (and ageing) professional group (McMullin, Comeau & Jovic, 2007). Finally, it presents a fresh critical perspective on naturalised ‘discourses of difference’ in relation to age (Wodak, 1996, p.126) previously confined to studies of racism or sexism (van Dijk, 1996).

    Metadata

    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2022 12:47
    Last Modified: 01 Nov 2023 15:37
    URI: https://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/48653
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.18743/PUB.00048653

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