YPP Network Description

The MacArthur Research Network on Youth and Participatory Politics (YPP) formed out of recognition that youth are critical to the future of democracy and that the digital age is introducing technological changes that are impacting how youth develop into informed, engaged, and effective actors.

MAPP By Any Media Necessary Resources

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By Any Media Necessary Introduction from MA+P @ USC on Vimeo.


“We hope to create through our project a series of resources which educators of all kinds can use to communicate to young people about the new civics.” (Professor Henry Jenkins quoted from introductory video)


Over the past four years and under the guidance of Henry Jenkins, MAPP conducted five case studies of diverse youth-driven communities that translate mechanisms of participatory culture into civic engagement and political participation. Our findings stress the interplay between individual growth, organizations, networks, communities, and platforms. As MAPP researchers learned, these groups often succeed by tapping practices of cultural appropriation, storytelling and remixing, working across organizational contexts, deploying metaphors from popular culture, and drawing on sustained engagement with interest-driven and friendship-based networks. Over time, youth involved in these communities mapped innovative and imaginative trajectories that scaffolded existing skills and interests towards a sustained ability to achieve social change. Building on these findings, the MAPP team partnered with the Media Arts + Practice Division at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts to create resources, conversation starters and workshops that encourage participants to think critically about previous examples of civic media and act creatively as they draw on their own experiences and aspirations to translate these insights into their own media practice.


In the early days of MAPP’s research on participatory politics, the team planned to utilize the scalar platform, a free, open source authoring and publishing platform that is characterized by its ability to support media-rich narratives, to create a book companion to the forthcoming print book, By Any Media Necessary (NYU Press), which is based on the case study research described above. As the research and writing progressed, we realized we had a unique opportunity to use scalar to create something even more robust that would allow, not only people reading the book, but also educators and activists in the field to a) gain a better understanding of civics in the digital age and b) use the information to spark discussion, collaboration and action in their own communities and networks. Starting in Summer 2014, the Media, Activism and Participatory Politics (MAPP) research team at the University of Southern California, began piloting their online resource, By Any Media Necessary (BAM), with groups of K-12 educators affiliated with the National Writing Project (NWP). This was done in an effort to see how teachers can utilize the BAM resource in their classrooms. Sessions brought together small groups of teachers (with no more than 10-12 participants) to informally explore the BAMN resource, provide feedback on the utility of the scalar platform and usability of the interface, test drive some of the available materials such as the MAPP workshops, and engage with the sizable archive of media on BAM.


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