Digital Society Network Annual Lecture: New media, old inequalities: Approaching youth, creative politics and digital media across social class, gender and geography

Dr Shakuntala Banaji, London School of Economics

Monday 9th October, 4.15 – 5.30pm (followed by book launch & drinks reception), LT4 The Diamond

Over the past seventeen years my research around young people, politics and creativity has interrogated the role and affordances of new and emerging digital media in processes of social change. From refugee children connecting with their peers across Europe through ICQ chat in 2002, through youth activists in Europe and India deploying social media in politically progressive or retrograde ways, to young female gamers in the MENA region selectively hiding and revealing their gender via avatars and play talk during MMOGs, one common thread has been the ways in which digital media creates spaces for new politics and new agencies whilst also hiding or entrenching structural inequalities. But to what extent are we simply doing the digital wrong? Could its technical affordances be used to overcome systematic hierarchies, at least online? Do its social affordances simply enhance the agency of particular social classes in the global south? And are there ways in which the narrative of the digital in liberation politics has become yet another enemy of those seeking deeper social structural transformation? My lecture will attempt to answer these questions in the context of findings from several major comparative research projects in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa over the past decade.

Respondents: Professor Dorothea Kleine, Theme Lead, Digital, Data and Innovation, Sheffield Institute for International Development, and Department of Geography, University of Sheffield

( and Dr Michalis Kontopodis, School of Education, University of Sheffield (

The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception and a launch of the book Global Youth in Digital Trajectories (2017) edited by Michalis Kontopodis, Christos Varvantakis and Christoph Wulf ( ).


Dr Shakuntala Banaji is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Media and Communications at LSE. She is Programme Director for the Master’s in Media, Communication & Development and teaches about world cinema, audiences, international media and the global south. She is Principal Investigator on the ‘Personalised Media and Participatory Culture’ project and UK project director for the Horizon 2020 CATCH-EyoU project. Ongoing research addresses the intersection between socio-political contexts, old and emerging media, identities and participation, with a focus on the lives of children and young people in different geographical and class contexts. Her publications include Reading Bollywood: Young Viewers and Hindi Films (Palgrave 2006), South Asian Media Cultures (Anthem Press, 2010), The Civic Web: Young People, the Internet and Civic Participation (MIT Press, 2013) and Children and Media in India: Narratives of Class, Agency and Social Change (Routledge, 2016). Visit her LSE webpage for more information:

This event is organised by the Digital Society Network ( in association with Sheffield Institute for International Development’s Digital Technologies, Data and Innovation (SIID DDI, research theme.

All welcome! Register your place at this free event.