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

  • Neta Kligler-Vilenchik University of Southern California
  • Joshua McVeigh-Schultz University of Southern California
  • Christine Weitbrecht University of Southern California
  • Chris Tokuhama University of Southern California
Keywords: Activism, Civic engagement, Fandom, Harry Potter, Invisible Children, Kony 2012, Politics, Youth

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.

Author Biographies

Neta Kligler-Vilenchik, University of Southern California
Ph.D. student, USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism
Joshua McVeigh-Schultz, University of Southern California
Ph.D. student, USC School of Cinematic arts
Christine Weitbrecht, University of Southern California
M.A. student, USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism
Chris Tokuhama, University of Southern California
Ph.D. student, USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism
Published
2011-04-02
How to Cite
Kligler-Vilenchik, N., McVeigh-Schultz, J., Weitbrecht, C., & Tokuhama, C. (2011). Experiencing fan activism: Understanding the power of fan activist organizations through members’ narratives. Transformative Works and Cultures, 10. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.3983/twc.2012.0322
Section
Theory