Matt Rafalow

Visiting Scholar

Senior Researcher, YouTube

CSTMS Research Unit: Berkeley Program in Science and Technology Studies, Office for the History of Science and Technology, CSTMS
Affiliation period: April 2019 -
Degrees Ph.D. Sociology :: University of California-Irvine (2016)
M.A. Human Development :: Columbia University Teachers College (2010)

Research Areas

Matt studies how cultural phenomena inform the perceived value, and subsequent use, of digital technologies in day-to-day life.

Matt is finishing a book on how digital tools are taken up and evaluated in different educational contexts. He compared how members of three technology-rich middle schools perceived the value of innovative new technologies and used them to teach so-called 21st century skills. He found that teachers drew on organization-level understandings of student race and class to construct students as either risky hackers or Steve Jobs potentials. Contrary to popular belief, digital technologies were not magic bullets to address educational inequities — rather, teachers adopted very similar technologies quite differently depending on the race and class of their student body.

His next project examines the rise of live streaming among both creators and observers, comparing and contrasting patterned uses of this new media format with sociological notions of participation in the public sphere.

See other publications on his website:

last updated: September 16th, 2021