Reclaiming the Right to Play in the Googleburg Galaxy


Dr. Steve Gennaro


This essay explores the concept of reclaiming democracy in the Googleburg Galaxy by emphasizing the need to separate from our current relationship with mediated technologies. It argues that digital spaces should be activated as public spheres, third spaces, counterpublics, and sites of contestation. The essay emphasizes the importance of participatory democracy, which requires freedom of assembly, thought, speech, and play and choices for individuals to be active agents in their own lives. It discusses the intertwined nature of democracy and capitalism and highlights the role of critical media literacy in navigating mediated spaces. The essay also examines young people's occupation of digital spaces and social media, focusing on the impact of language and the importance of diverse stories and representation. It discusses the need for a free press in guaranteeing the protection of democratic rights and critiques Habermas' notion of the public sphere. The essay calls for reconfiguring the Googleburg Galaxy through third spaces and counterpublics, and emphasizes the role of play, storytelling, and critical media literacy in reclaiming democracy. It explores the impact of COVID-19 on digital spaces and the need for alternative spaces, politics, and pedagogies. The essay concludes by highlighting the role of play as a subversive tool for reclaiming democracy and the importance of children's rights in digital spaces.



Author Biography

Dr. Steve Gennaro, York University, Toronto, Canada

Critical theorist, a youth rights activist, and a playologist. Professor in the Humanities department at York University (Canada). He explores the intersections of media, technology, psychology, and youth identity. He is one of the founding faculty for the Children, Childhood, and Youth Studies Program at York University in Toronto, Canada, where he has taught for nearly two decades. He was named to the Child Rights Academic Network in 2021 and appointed to the European Academy of Sciences of Ukraine in 2022. He currently works with Canada Soccer to help develop and deliver coaching training and licensing to ensure that every child always has the right to play.


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