By Any Media Necessary: The New Youth Activism

By Henry Jenkins, Sangita Shresthova, Liana Gamber-Thompson, Neta Kligler-Vilenchik and Arely Zimmerman, (2016) NYUPress

ISBN: 9781479899982

There is a widespread perception that the foundations of American democracy are dysfunctional, public trust in core institutions is eroding, and little is likely to emerge from traditional politics that will shift those conditions. Youth are often seen as emblematic of this crisis—frequently represented as uninterested in political life, ill-informed about current-affairs, and unwilling to register and vote.

By Any Media Necessary offers a profoundly different picture of contemporary American youth.  Young men and women are tapping into the potential of new forms of communication such as social media platforms, spreadable videos and memes, remixing the language of popular culture, and seeking to bring about political change—by any media necessary. In a series of case studies covering a diverse range of organizations, networks, and movements involving young people in the political process—from the Harry Potter Alliance which fights for human rights in the name of the popular fantasy franchise to immigration rights advocates using superheroes to dramatize their struggles—By Any Media Necessary examines the civic imagination at work. Before the world can change, people need the ability to imagine what alternatives might look like and identify paths by which change can be achieved. Exploring new forms of political activities and identities emerging from the practice of participatory culture, By Any Media Necessary reveals how these shifts in communication have unleashed a new political dynamism in American youth.

1 Youth Voice, Media, and Political Engagement: Introducing the Core Concepts
(Henry Jenkins)
2 “Watch 30 Minute Video on Internet, Become Social Activist”?: Kony 2012, Invisible Children, and the Paradoxes of Participatory Politics
(Sangita Shresthova)
3 “Decreasing World Suck”: Harnessing Popular Culture for Fan Activism
(Neta Kligler-Vilenchik)
4 Between Storytelling and Surveillance: The Precarious Public of American Muslim Youth
(Sangita Shresthova)
5 DREAMing Citizenship: Undocumented Youth, Coming Out, and Pathways to Participation
(Liana Gamber- Thompson and Arely M. Zimmerman)
6 Bypassing the Ballot Box: How Libertarian Youth Are Reimagining the Political
(Liana Gamber-Thompson)
7 “It’s Called Giving a Shit!”: What Counts as “Politics”?
(Henry Jenkins and Sangita Shresthova)
Afterword: Necessary Learning
Elisabeth Soep