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Digital youth − Social media as a site for learning about food and eating

This study examines youth-initiated content in a YouTube environment, with particular foci on school food, Finnish students and informal learning. Data was collected though an observational digital ethnographic research design, with the interdisciplinary theoretical background integrating childhood sociology and Dewey’s notions of learning as growth. The analyses produced a threefold categorisation of the YouTube videos, namely 1) Depicting daily life; 2) Having fun with friends; and 3) Stating one’s opinion. In concluding, the article suggests that the theoretical integration of interpretive reproduction and learning as growth provides a way to examine informal, food-related learning in digital surroundings in a way which neglects neither learning theory nor youth cultural perspectives. Based on the results, the study calls for further research on the potential benefits of creative, youth-initiated forms of food cultural reproduction and learning across formal and informal contexts.

Keywords: digital ethnography; YouTube; school lunch situations; informal learning; youth

Researchers: Kristiina Janhonen

Funding: Elli Suninen and Rachel Troberg Foundation.

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