20 March 2014

PhD course: Media, Children, and Family Culture

Aarhus University, June 10-12, 2014

In both the US and in many European countries, 9 out of 10 children have Internet access by age 11, and more than 95% of households in both Denmark and in the US own a mobile phone, with more than 50% owning a smart phone. In countries throughout Europe and the US, families report that technology makes life with children more challenging, not less (see Livingstone 2009; Clark 2012). In this doctoral seminar, participants will discuss theories of parental mediation, life in a risk society, family communication and social class, domestication of technologies, the mediatization of family life, material childhood, mediatized play and do it yourself (DIY) youth culture in relation to emergent research on media, children, and family culture. We will also discuss emergent methodologies that are employed in the study of family household practices and children’s media usage. Experienced scholars will give talks on own research, present key theories and methodologies and lead discussions to improve the participants empirically and analytically approaches and ideas.

The doctoral seminar will feature leadership from four scholars who have conducted research on the role of digital and mobile media in family life, youth culture and children’s play culture:

1. Professor Lynn Schofield Clark from the University of Denver, author of The Parent App: Understanding Families in a Digital Age (OUP 2013), From Angels to Aliens: Teenagers, the Media, and the Supernatural (OUP 2005), and coauthor of Media, Home, and Family (Routledge 2004), who has been engaged in ethnographically based research on media and US families across a range of socioeconomic backgrounds for more than fifteen years.

2. Associate Professor Gitte Bang Stald from the IT University of Copenhagen, who has conducted several large-scale studies on digital youth media cultures and is currently participating in EU Kids Online I-III (2006-14) and in the EU project Net Children Go Mobile (2012-14).

3. Assistant Professor Stine Liv Johansen, who has studied toddler’s TV-culture and school children’s play through and with digital media technologies.

4. Associate Professor Annette Markham, who has conducted several studies in digital culture and specifically been looking at the impact and everyday use of social media.


The course will consist of a mixture of presentations by the lecturers on own research and core concepts, theories, methodologies, and discussions underlying studies on the role of digital and mobile media in family life, childhood, and youth culture. Over the course of three days, students will participate in workshops, group discussions and present specific methodological or theoretical issues related to their own research project for feedback

Purpose of the course

Participants can gain a thorough up-to-date knowledge about core concepts, theories, and methodologies related to studies of the role of digital and mobile media in family life, childhood, and youth culture. Furthermore participants will get lots of feedback on their own research projects from experts and colleagues in the field.


The course is organized by visiting professor Lynn Schofield Clark, University of Denver, and associate professor, Kirsten Frandsen, Aarhus University. And is a cooperation between the research programme Mediatization of Culture, Department of Aesthetics and Communication, Aarhus University, and Graduate School of Arts at Aarhus University.