Experiencing fan activism: Understanding the power of fan activist organizations through members' narratives

Neta Kligler-Vilenchik, Joshua McVeigh-Schultz, Christine Weitbrecht, Chris Tokuhama

Abstract


Fan activism, forms of civic engagement and political participation growing out of experiences of fandom, is a powerful mode of mobilization, particularly for young people. Building on 40 interviews with members of two organizations representing different configurations of fan activism, this article discusses three emerging elements that are key to the experience of membership in such groups. We suggest that the strength of fan activist groups builds on successfully combining these elements: two that are common to fandom, shared media experiences and a sense of community, and one that is traditionally ascribed to volunteerism and activism, the wish to help.

Keywords


Activism; Civic engagement; Fandom; Harry Potter; Invisible Children; Kony 2012; Politics; Youth

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Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC), ISSN 1941-2258, is an online-only Gold Open Access publication of the nonprofit Organization for Transformative Works copyrighted under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License. Contact the Editor with questions.