Children, platforms and collections: a methodological approach to contemporary practices

Carolina Duek & Thibault Philippette

This paper presents the methodological design of an ongoing research in two countries simultaneously: Belgium and Argentina. The objective of the inquiry is to identify the ways through which children establish different relationships with characters and objects from media. Multiple objects and apps compose a scheme of cultural consumptions that needs to be analyzed. Two key concepts organize the methodological design of the research: collections and competences. The construction of collections appeared, in the pilot study, as both a desire and as a strategy that children built around their consumptions. The sum of objects referring to the same field (Pokémon, Legos, Clash Royale, etc.) was perceived as a “plus” that was valued by peers. Fastrez (2010) defines four great fields of competences that are (and should be) developed while interacting with media: reading, writing, navigation and organization. He also identifies three main media dimensions: technical, informational and social. Following that model, “collections” refer to organizational and navigational skills through sets of media objects, as to competences that articulate information (e.g. labels), technics (e.g. sorting tools) and social aspects (e.g. other’s cultural schemes).

The design of the research consists on qualitative ethnographic interviews held in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina and in Brussels, Belgium. Children between 8 and 10 are interviewed with a friend of their choice with previous (and signed) consent from parents in their houses. The space of the interviews is a major aspect of the methodological design as we aim to see and analyze the objects, the disposition of their toys and games and the technology available in their houses. In other words, it is a “child’s room and house environment” analysis.


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