Participatory culture bridges cultural production, informal learning, and political engagement. The core issues concern who gets to contribute, on what terms, and with what training in the production and circulation of media content. This entry traces the concept from its roots in describing fan communities, through its introduction into discussions of new media literacy, to its more recent usage to describe mechanisms for getting youth involved in the political process.


Henry Jenkins initially used the term participatory culture to describe how media fans actively translated mass media content into resources for expressing personal and collective identity: for example, fan fiction writing, video production, cosplay, or digital manipulation. His 1992 book Textual Poachers discussed five core dimensions of fandom: (1) as a mode of reception, (2) ...

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