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My Research Story

Few would argue that public and private spaces have become increasingly converged over the last 40 years, computer and online environments have both contributed to and complicated this divide. Additionally, the ubiquitous surveillance enabled by computing has threatened to reduce the amount o private space available in society. !very time we enter a public space we are surveilled by closed"circuit television #cctv$ cameras and trac%ed by our purchases through credit and store cards. !very time we communicate, be it by telephone or online, we are monitored, recorded and gauged. &nder such scrutiny, private spaces are becoming rare and almost a lu'ury, perhaps even something that in the uture we will have to pay or, perhaps even something we are already paying or. (n such an environment, teenagers are trying to ma%e"it in the world, to orge identities, riendships, and to socialise. )eenagers are soon to be the ne't generation o young adults, they are continually e'perimenting with new ideas and wanting to stay connected with riends, they are also at the ore ront o technological and in ormation usage, although most li%ely more out o necessity than o choice. (n a world in which privacy is scarce, how do teenagers con ront such an issue* +o they loo% or privacy in di erent places or do they create entirely new spaces in which privacy can e'ist* ,r do they simply ad-ust their own requirements and need or privacy* Alternatively, does privacy begin to ta%e on a whole new meaning which is distinctively di erent to that which is understood to occur within a socio"political ramewor%* Snapchat is a mobile phone app which has recently become popular amongst teenagers. (t creates a space which carries many o the communicative aspects o an online networ%ing plat orm, yet is less public than the internet and is a much more direct and targeted orm o communication. (t also has the additional eature o the ephemeral in that the message can only be viewed or between .".0 seconds and then disappears. !ven so, screenshots can be ta%en i the recipient is quic% enough, then saved to their photo gallery and later uploaded to a networ%ing plat orm i so desired. Any phone app in itsel creates an interesting space or privacy between users because there is no potential third party or audience li%e there is on the internet. /et the additional ephemeral space created on Snapchat creates an almost augmented private space which can only by its very nature e'ist or be accessed because it is delimited by time. 0ow do teenagers use this space* 0ow do they ma%e sense o it and derive meaning rom it speci ically in terms o privacy* (s this the only way o accessing privacy or teenagers while they communicate with riends* ,r do they access other spaces in order to gain privacy and merely use Snapchat or some other means* Are they aware that Snapchat space is inherently public* ,r is 1public1 the new 1private1 in this instance*

( suspect that teenagers are inding privacy hard to come by and are both searching more vigilantly or privacy whilst at the same time, out o necessity, compromising and denying their e'pectations o such. At the very least, ( thin% the trade"o in order to gain privacy or teenagers is signi icant* 2ut what will be the implications or democracy when as a society we can no longer presume privacy* 3hat are the implications o privacy becoming a commodity or uture generations* 3hat will be the impact on the 1social1 and what will be the impact or people on engagement with the 1social1* )he notion o 1society1 seems to be intrinsically connected with political science, at least in a democratic sense. 0ow does a complication with access to privacy e ect the relationship between the domain o the social and the political realm* Are these even the correct questions to be as%ing* Are these concerns simply business as usual* ( don1t thin% so. ( thin% or the irst time in recorded history we are in uncharted terrain. ( thin% the automation associated with the industrial revolution and the algorithms associated with computing have enabled human beings in postmodernity to both engage with technology li%e never be ore whilst simultaneously contribute to a human alienation, regression and determinism o unprecedented proportion. )he social seems to have separated itsel rom the political. /et urther, the social seems also to have attached itsel to 1the body1. Such a orm o engagement de ies all the classical rules o both social and political discourse as we have %nown it. )hese are the eatures ( eel are representative o teenage perceptions o privacy, as evidenced in Snapchat usage, and the ideas that ( would li%e to investigate and pursue urther in my thesis.