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May 12, 2006 |

I recently finished a draft of a paper for a new book on kids and media being edited by Sonia Livingstone and Kirsten Drotner. Ive just posted it here. They had asked me to do a theoretical overview of the issue of kids’ engagements with new media, and to provide an international perspective from Japan. It proved to be a much more challenging paper than I expected, an exercise in making explicit many of the theoretical assumptions that have guided my work. Thank goodness for patient editors – I did get something together after several false starts.

This is my first effort to review some of the literature in learning theory, children’s media studies and new media studies, and try to place it into a framework of participation and collective imagination. Though the second half of the paper is a presentation of the cases of Japanese media mixes that I have already written about elsewhere, the first half of the paper is an archeology of my theoretical assumptions. I bring together Henry Jenkin’s idea of participatory media culture with situated learning theory (eg. Lave and Wenger) and Arjun Appadurai’s notion of the imagination as collective social fact. Given the eclectic theoretical terrain, I know that this draft is likely suffering from many omissions and conceptual slips, so I would welcome any feedback either here or over email on how to improve it.