Civics, Popular Media & Participatory Culture

August 2, 2010

sharing readings (reflection)

Filed under: Reading — Benjamin Stokes @ 8:25 pm

This post is part of our research group’s regular effort to share readings.

Before offering an actual reading, I wanted to reflect briefly on how we might coordinate group readings.  For our group, this is still a bit premature, since our initial mode is deliberately open and exploratory.  But it’s easy to anticipate a day when we might want to push hard for cohesion, both conceptually and operationally in terms of specific bodies of literature to alternately support and oppose.  Of course, our constituent researchers already have too much to read — and always have too much to read.  So perhaps it would help to classify our suggestions.

Here’s one way to differentiate suggested readings: (a) core articles that define central concepts, as well as histories to differentiate our research from others; (b) branch leads that clarify our distinct research branches within our group; (c) provocation articles that raise new ideas, introduce uncertainty, or push for a change; and (d) FYI, for articles that are worth skimming the title and author, but otherwise are not required just yet.  This still leaves open the decision of whether it is most appropriate to send the entire article, a marked-up version, an excerpt, or a summary/reflection — and whether we’re comfortable sharing our priorities on this blog (grin).

I do know several constituencies that might appreciate some kind of classification scheme: newcomers, partners and outsiders.  Partners and researchers join the group annually (if not more often), and catching up to a shifting collective knowledge base is notoriously difficult.  And of course, it might just help the rest of us too.

Shared readings

Filed under: Reading — Neta @ 3:18 pm

The readings I’d like to share are some that I have used for writing my blog post on “Civic engagement – defined and redefined”, and some others I wanted to use but didn’t get to…

Readings from political science and education relevant to thinking about new forms of civic engagement:

Dalton, R.J. (2008).  The good citizen: How a younger generation is reshaping American politics.  Washington, DC: CQ Press.

Shea, D.M., & Green, J.C. (2007).  The turned-off generation: Fact and fiction.  In D.M. Shea and J.C. Green (Eds.), Fountain of youth: Strategies and tactics for mobilizing America’s young voters (pp. 1-18).  Plymouth, UK: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Colby, A. (2008).  The place of political learning in college.  Association of American colleges and universities, Spring / summer, 4-12.

Owen, D. (2008, September).  Political socialization in the twenty-first century: Recommendations for researchers. Paper presented at the Future of Civic Education in the 21st Century conference, Montpelier, VT.  Electronic copy retrieved from

On the “scissor effect” : the claim that volunteering comes in place of political participation: Longo, N. (2004). The new student politics: Listening to the political voice of students. The Journal of Public Affairs 7(1), 1-14.

Data about young people’s volunteering and political engagement:

Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA (2009).  The American Freshman: National norms for 2008.  Los Angeles, CA. Available:

Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, see

The MacArthur Series on Civic Engagement – a key source for many of the issues we’re discussing, with a foreword by Henry Jenkins, Mimi Ito and others.

July 11, 2010

Star Wars and Political Discussion

Filed under: Reading — Tags: , , , , — Chris Tokuhama @ 2:41 pm

I’ve recently started the process to join a guild for Star Wars:  The Old Republic and have begun to wonder about how the fictional universe’s basic structure lends itself to fans developing ideas regarding political participation. Beyond the simple binary of the Republic/Empire, I am interested to see how fans talk about political values and ideals. While much of this discussion has already taken place around published media, I am interested to see how the introduction of an MMO during the Old Republic period will allow discourse that differs from Star Wars Galaxies. I think it will be interesting to see how the forums develop over the next 10 months as the game leads up to launch. In that vein, here are some of the things that I’ve been thinking about lately.

Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Participatory Fandom

Teaching Old Brands New Tricks

I’ve also including some of the readings that I used for a recent paper on Invisible Children.

Alice James and the Spectacle of Sympathy

Examining Social Resistance and Online-Offline Relationships

Muscular Christianity and the Spectacle of Conversion

Product RED Case Study and Ethics

RED and Causumerism

Youth Culture and Conflict Narratives

July 7, 2010

News and Notes

Filed under: Reading — Lana Swartz @ 2:08 pm

Matea Gold from the LA Times covers the controversy among feminists surrounding The Daily Show’s newest hire, Olivia Munn, the first female correspondent in seven years.

“Pictures, videos and slogans on T-shirts are tools of modern expression, and with a phenomenon as omnipresent as Twilight, fans should be free to engage, manipulate, remix and remake,” writes Christina Mulligan in the Washington Post.

Laura McCann from Neiman Journalism Lab writes about a new Pew Internet and American Life Project on Americans’ mobile device and wireless habits, which finds that young people are using texts to make donations. McCann wonders what about the potential impact of Apple’s donation app ban.

TED Talk on the value for innovation of copying in fashion by USC’s Lear Center’s Johanna Blakley.

July 6, 2010

Tracing the traces in online spaces

Filed under: Reading — Kevin Driscoll @ 10:10 pm

Soldering Time Fun!

Each of this week’s recommended links is about getting down and dirty with the technological details of internet communication.

In a new paper, Geiger and Ribes offer a compelling picture of Wikipedia’s “vandal fighting” editors that largely departs from the existing literature. By engaging with the day-to-day practices of the vandal fighters, the researchers learned to make meaning of an overwhelming heap of Wikipedia data in order to reconstruct the scene of a malicious user being banned.

Joel Spolsky usually writes for an audience of computer programmers and this essay about character encoding is no exception. In and among the technical details, however, Spolsky’s history of the digitized alphabet is a parable about the growing pains of a global computing network. Two hexadecimal bytes represent 255 unique values: plenty of space for American engineers to store 26 lowercase letters, 26 uppercase letters, 10 Arabic numerals, and a handful of punctuation — but what happens when we start to trade files with colleagues overseas? How do today’s software designers account for the thousands upon thousands of characters used around the world?

Finally, Asheesh Laroia runs a fascinating workshop about web scraping at PyCon, the annual gathering of Python programmers. In this play-along-at-home presentation, he walks the audience through a variety of tools and techniques to automate data collection from nearly any resource on the web. Novice programmers should feel comfortable to jump right in. Laroia provides plenty of example code to play with.

  • Laroia, A. (2009) Scrape the Web: Strategies for programming websites that don’t expect it. [Video] PyCon, Chicago, May 8. Retrieved from:

(If you’re not yet a programmer but want to learn, Python is a great language for beginners. If you’re looking for an introductory book, try Think Python.)

Powered by WordPress