This thesis explores the critical agencies expressed by a group of Japanese youth asked to reflect on their understanding of fast food cultures in the context of a global consumer-media environment. New literacies and the concepts of the young cyberflâneur and the phoneur are used to define and map the youths’ agentic practices, while various qualitative research methods are employed to investigate how eight Japanese high school students understand the meaning and impact of McDonald’s in their lives. Reflecting the multimodal literacies through which youth now express themselves, the thesis experimented with the use of mobile phone cameras, alongside group photo-interviews, as tools for exploring youths’ understanding of McDonald’s and contemporary fast food cultures. By way of conclusion, the thesis considers the students’ unique perspectives as emergent forms of critical agency and the implications of this research for student-teacher relationships in the context of critical media education.
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Thesis advisor: Poyntz, Stuart
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