Political and Social Activism

Youth, New Media, and the Rise of Participatory Politics

This 2014 paper studies participatory politics in today’s society and looks at how involvement in political activities has changed with new technologies. New media platforms have become an important part of youth life, and the authors highlight how youth’s use of technology has allowed them to be active contributors in political matters. The use of technology has created a fundamental shift in how politics are viewed in society. This paper offers an overview of these changes, along with commentary on the positive and negative effects created by increasingly digital political actions. This paper gives readers a background to help them analyze and understand case studies of youth technological activism.

Kahne, Joseph, Ellen Middaugh and Danielle Allen. “Youth, New Media, and the Rise of Participatory Politics.” Youth Participatory Politics Research Network. 19 March 2014. Web. 22 October 2015. <http://dmlhub.net/wp-content/uploads/files/YPP_WorkingPaper1.pdf>.


The Social Media Basis of Youth Protest Behavior: The Case of Chile

At the time of this 2011 study, protest activity was the major means for political and social change in Chile. Although there was very low poll turnout among youth, they were the major organizers of this protest activity. Using detailed surveys, researchers discovered that the use of Facebook for news exchange and social communication is what led youth to become more involved in protests. Youth’s involvement in Chile’s protests has had an influential impact on the country and has helped make progress in the areas youth were aiming for, such as improving political and social policy. This source explains that social media can be used to aid traditional forms of protest, and highlights the possibility of applying it to other developing democracies.

Valenzuela, Sebastian, Arturo Arriagada and Andres Scherman. “The Social Media Basis of Youth Protest Behavior: The Case of Chile.” Journal of Communication. 2012. Web. 30 October 2015. <https://www.academia.edu/1440275/The_Social_Media_Basis_of_Youth_Protest_ Behavior_The_Case_of_Chile>.


Youth and Citizenship in the Digital Age: A View from Egypt

Written in 2012, Linda Herrera offers a case study highlighting the relation between youth political activism and the use of technology in the Middle East. Instead of using surveys, Herrera uses biographical research, offering an in depth and personal view of Egyptian youth’s ideas and thoughts. Herrera dissects how technology relates to each step of the revolution. While impressed with the effectiveness of technological youth protest, Herrera questions the long-term efficiency of this method, stating, “The democratic movements of Egypt’s wired generation have yet to develop an aptitude for planning over the long term.” This raises an interesting point of discussion: how can youth use technology to create long lasting change?

Herrera, Linda. “Youth and Citizenship in the Digital Age: A View from Egypt.” Harvard Educational Review. Vol. 82, No. 3. 2012. Web. 22 October 2015. <http://old.kwarc.info/teaching/TDM/Herrera.pdf>.


Cell phones and umbrellas: Protesting Hong Kong-style

“It’s a high-tech response to a high-stress situation,” said author Wilfred Chan on protesters’ use of technology. Using evidence from the Umbrella Movement, a pro-democracy political movement in Hong Kong, this article highlights how youth are using social media to effectively organize and update supporters during a protest. Social media services such as WhatsApp and Firechat are being used to deliver news and warnings among protestors. The speed with which social media allows youth to communicate has an integral impact on the effectiveness of the protest.

Chan, Wilfred. “Cell phones and umbrellas: Protesting Hong Kong-style.” Cable News Network, 29 September 2014. Web. 22 October 2015. <http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/29/world/asia/hong-kong-internet-youth-protest/>.


#Hashtag Activism: Tips on How to Leverage Social Media For Social Change

Erin McKelle is a social activist and blogger for Youth + Tech + Health (YTH). In this article she explains, “Social media has become the new black when it comes to platforms that are used by young activists to create positive changes in society.” Social media feeds are covered with hashtags, intending to bring attention to specific issues through a catchy phrase. McKelle gives tips on how to create an effective hashtag campaign. Along with these suggestions, the author also provides recommended links to current, popular hashtag campaigns. This article makes it very clear that youth have the power to create social change through new media, and are responsible for using this power wisely.

McKelle, Erin. “#Hashtag Activism: Tips on How to Leverage Social Media For Social Change.” Youth+Tech+Health. 11 February 2015. Web. 26 October 2015. <http://yth.org/hashtag-activism-tips-leverage-social-media-social-change/>.


Young Men’s and Women’s Social Activism on YouTube in India and Egypt

This paper discusses how youth in India and Egypt have started to use YouTube to protest gender inequality and sexual harassment. The authors give specific examples from each country through a detailed analysis of multiple videos. YouTube is a space that enables youth to use their creativity and develop original content with a powerful message. This new platform for social change has given a continually expanding audience a chance to look introspectively at their behaviors, as well as change their nation’s perspectives on sexism. However, this influence could be multiplied if more people had access to the Internet. An increased audience would lead to increased social change.

Lenze, Nele and Rahul Advani. “Young Men’s and Women’s Social Activism on YouTube in India and Egypt.” Singapore Middle East Papers. No. 12/2. 22 August 2014. Web. 29 October 2015. <http://www.academia.edu/8043029/Young_Men_s_and_Women_s_Social_Activism_ on_YouTube_in_India_and_Egypt._Creating_awareness_of_sexism_and_sexual_ harassment_on_social_media_-_By_Nele_Lenze_and_Rahul_Advani>.

Leave a Reply