Participatory culture, new media, and civic engagement: A generation who dares to hope

Sibylle Gruber

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In this chapter, the author focuses on how humanities teachers can, and should, adapt classroom practices that promote civic engagement by paying attention to the needs of a new media culture. The author uses examples from the 2007/2008 presidential campaign to show the possibilities of new media for joining together academic principles with the principles of a newly emerging participatory culture. The author points out that teachers can learn from Barack Obama's campaign to harness the interest, excitement, and staunch support of technologically savvy students, not only for political campaigns, but also for increasing students' participation in the communities of their choice. "Yes, we can!", even though it was a campaign slogan that could be interpreted in many different ways, allowed students-and voters in general-to hope that change is possible. Obama's strategies, and his ability to garner support and promote unprecedented participation in the election process in the 18-29-year population, should be a catalyst not for doing what Obama did but for revisiting and re-imagining how we create an environment for our students that promotes engagement and hope in the power of individuals to participate successfully in civic action. I conclude by providing an example that shows how engaged students and teachers contributed to positive change by believing in the "power of one" and by acting on that belief.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTechnologies for Enhancing Pedagogy, Engagement and Empowerment in Education
Subtitle of host publicationCreating Learning-Friendly Environments
PublisherIGI Global
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9781613500743
StatePublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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