Facebook: An Affinity Space for Young People’s Environmental Learning and Action


  • Ellen Field James Cook University




This paper draws on my dissertation research, that is focused on elucidating the substance, structure, and dynamics of how youth are engaging in interest-driven environmental peer-to-peer learning and activism within social networking “affinity spaces”. Affinity spaces – virtual or physical - are locations where groups of people are drawn together because of an engagement or shared interest in a common activity (Gee, 2005). My research is situated within a constructivist research paradigm and employs ethnographic methods to gain “insider” understandings of teen social media practices that relate to environmental learning and action, as experienced by the teens themselves (Lankshear et al, 2011). Drawing upon data obtained from surveys, social media observation, and interviews with youth from 11 different interest-driven environmentally-focused Facebook groups, I will discuss variations of the networks and interactions. Specifically, I will explore the network structure and various interactional dynamics related to: scale of network, leadership, membership, and adult facilitators. Along with these findings, I will offer some recommendations for adult facilitators in regards to fostering environmental learning and action in youth-driven affinity spaces.




How to Cite

Field, E. (2016). Facebook: An Affinity Space for Young People’s Environmental Learning and Action. ETropic: Electronic Journal of Studies in the Tropics, 14(1). https://doi.org/10.25120/etropic.14.1.2015.3369