YPP explores the intersection of youth, new media, and political life. We believe that fundamental changes in political expectations and practices may be occurring. We see signs of these emerging norms in a set of practices we call Participatory Politics. While not exclusively online, these practices increasingly tap the affordances of digital media.
Participatory Politics enable individuals to:
- Expand access to audiences and to online networks that can be Mobilized on behalf of a cause
- Help shape agendas through Dialog with and Feedback to political leaders
- Exert greater agency online and off through the Circulation of information, the posting or forwarding of links, and through Production of original content (online or off) such as a blog or letter to the editor
The impact of participatory politics remains uncertain. We do not yet know, for example, when they lead to the spread of reliable information or misinformation, to echo-chambers or exposure to diverse perspectives, and to greater or lesser political inequality. YPP’s research focuses on youth engagement with digital media and participatory politics because youth are central to this emerging political landscape. Through our research we are working to understand the potential and pitfalls of this digitally infused public sphere and to identify ways to promote empowered and equitable engagement.