Participatory Politics

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Description

Henry Jenkins:

“The Youth and Participatory Politics study defines participatory politics as interactive, peer-based acts through which individuals and groups seek to exert both voice and influence on issues of public concern. Importantly, these acts are not guided by deference to elites or formal institutions. Examples of participatory political acts include starting a new political group online, writing and disseminating a blog post about a political issue, forwarding a funny political video to one's social network, or participating in a poetry slam.

This definition emerges from three years of intense discussions amongst the participating researchers, as well as consultations with leading scholars and activists, all of whom are thinking deeply about media change and its political consequences. It think it is safe to say that this reconceptualization would not have emerged anywhere except in the radically multidisciplinary space which Kahne and the MacArthur Foundation have helped to establish. We bring ideas from our own disciplines into conversation with those from profoundly different frames of reference, and in the process, we have begun to map a space which is inadequately covered by any given field. “ (http://henryjenkins.org/2012/07/participatory_politics_new_med.html)


Characteristics

Henry Jenkins:

“Participatory political acts can:

  • reach large audiences and mobilize net- works, often online, on behalf of a cause;
  • help shape agendas through dialogue with, and provide feedback to, political leaders (on- and offline); and
  • enable participants to exert greater agency through the circulation or forwarding of political information (e.g., links) as well as through the production of original content, such as a blog or letter to the editor.


Four factors make participatory politics especially important to those thinking about the future of American politics.

1. Participatory politics allow individuals to operate with greater independence in the political realm, circumventing traditional gatekeepers of information and influence, such as newspaper editors, political parties, and interest groups.

2. Participatory politics often facilitate a renegotiation of political power and control with the traditional political entities that are now searching for ways to engage participants. Witness how newspapers and cable television stations now try to facilitate a controlled engagement with their audience through the use of social media.

3. Participatory politics as practiced online provide for greater creativity and voice, as participants produce original content using video, images, and text.

4. Participatory politics afford individuals the capability to reach a sizable audience and mobilize others through their social networks in an easy and inexpensive manner.” (http://henryjenkins.org/2012/07/participatory_politics_new_med.html)


More Information

Participatory_Politics,_New_Media_and_Youth_Political_Action