This book examines the contemporary era where parents complain that children today don't do their homework because they are distracted by the Internet, texting, and video games. Texting Toward Utopia presents the writings of todays children and develops the argument that this is actually a time of mass literary, in which young people write furiously, albeit often below the adult radar. Agger argues that where texting replaces textbooks, the writing may be emoticon-laden, slangy, or terse, but it is still profound, as children (and their parents) engage in resistance and write for a better world. This book is a guide to understanding the meeting point between a new generation of children and new communication technologies.
"Arguably the best book we have on social media and how young people are using it to construct a new form of literacy.. For Agger, the new media constitutes writing in a different form, one that makes clear how young people are left out of the discourse of democracy, and what they are doing to fashion a new understanding of communication, social relationships, and a world in which literacy is connected not only to understanding and communication, but also to intervening in and shaping the larger world. This is a book that should be read by anyone concerned about the shifting grounds of communication, literacy, the new media, and most of all how youth are narrating themselves in a world far different than the one an older generation inherited."
-Henry A. Giroux, Author of Youth in Revolt
"Agger continues to chart the ever-shifting and mutating boundaries between the modern and the postmodern with particular attention to children and writing. Going against conventional wisdom, Agger argues that "this is the most literary of ages," and forces us to rethink literacy, literature, and writing as we confront the brave new worlds of kids' writing, texting and resisting the dominant adult culture."
-Douglas Kellner, Professor at UCLA and author of Media Spectacle and Insurrection, 2011: From the Arab Uprisings to Occupy Everywhere!
"Agger brings his critical, yet optimistic, lens to bear on the contemporary practice of everyday life and utopian imagination in the context of rapidly changing modes of communication, work, and play. He provides an important sociological compass as we struggle to distinguish the potentially disciplinary from the potentially liberating uses of today's technological tools. Slow down and read this book."
-Patricia Nickel, Virginia Tech University
“Literature and community are not dead. In the best traditions of critical social theory, Ben Agger’s Texting toward Utopia is a lucid and penetrating analysis of intergenerational changes in writing, media, and communications paradigms. Theoretically nuanced and historically grounded, Texting forces us to reconsider the plight of kids as well as the organization of primary and secondary schooling, and reveals new ways to connect with teens and young adults. Anyone interested in or teaching courses dealing with social problems, social change, technology and communications, literacy, book and text culture, childhood and youth, or capitalism and consumerism will find much value here—and teachers who have come to doubt the efficacy of the traditional term paper can use Texting as a guide to tapping into the vital streams of writing flowing all around them. Highly recommended.”
—Mark Worrell, SUNY Cortland