Elisabeth Soep

Elisabeth Soep is Special Projects Producer and Senior Scholar-in-Residence at YR Media. Her work has been featured in major media including NPR, the New York Times, National Geographic, and Teen Vogue. She is the author of Participatory Politics (MIT Press).

  • Code for What?

    Computer Science for Storytelling and Social Justice

    Clifford Lee and Elisabeth Soep

    Coding for a purpose: helping young people combine journalism, data, design, and code to make media that makes a difference.

    Educators are urged to teach “code for all”—to make a specialized field accessible for students usually excluded from it. In this book, Clifford Lee and Elisabeth Soep instead ask the question, “Code for what?” What if coding were a justice-driven medium for storytelling rather than a narrow technical skill? What if “democratizing” computer science went beyond the usual one-off workshop and empowered youth to create digital products for social impact? Lee and Soep answer these questions with stories of a diverse group of young people in Oakland, California, who combine journalism, data, design, and code to create media that makes a difference.

    These teenage and young adult producers created interactive projects that explored gendered and racialized dress code policies in schools; designed tools for LBGTQ+ youth experiencing discrimination; investigated facial recognition software and what can be done about it; and developed a mobile app to promote mental health through self-awareness and outreach for support, and more, for distribution to audiences that could reach into the millions. Working with educators and media professionals at YR Media, an award-winning organization that helps young people from underserved communities build skills in media, journalism, and the arts, these teens found their own vibrant answers to “why code?” They code for insight, connection and community, accountability, creative expression, joy, and hope.

    • Hardcover $29.95
  • Participatory Politics

    Participatory Politics

    Next-Generation Tactics to Remake Public Spheres

    Elisabeth Soep

    An examination of the mix of face-to-face and digital methods that young people use in their experiments with civic engagement.

    Although they may disavow politics as such, civic-minded young people use every means and media at their disposal to carry out the basic tasks of citizenship. Through a mix of face-to-face and digital methods, they deliberate on important issues and debate with peers and powerbrokers, redefining some key dynamics that govern civic life in the process. In Participatory Politics, Elisabeth Soep examines the specific tactics used by young people as they experiment with civic engagement.

    Drawing on her scholarly research and on her work as a media producer and educator, Soep identifies five tactics that are part of effective, equitable participatory politics among young people: Pivot Your Public (mobilizing civic capacity within popular culture engagements); Create Content Worlds (using inventive and interactive storytelling that sparks sharing); Forage for Information in public data archives; Code Up (using computational thinking to design tools, platforms, and spaces for public good); and Hide and Seek (protecting privacy and information sources). After describing these tactics as they manifest themselves in a range of youth-driven activities—from the runaway spread of the video Kony 2012 to community hackathons—Soep discusses concrete ideas for cultivating the new literacies that will enable young people to participate in public life. She goes on to consider some risks associated with these participatory tactics, including simplification and sensationalism, and ways to avoid them, and concludes with implications for future research and practice.

    • Paperback $20.00

Contributor

  • Civic Media

    Civic Media

    Technology, Design, Practice

    Eric Gordon and Paul Mihailidis

    Examinations of civic engagement in digital culture—the technologies, designs, and practices that support connection through common purpose in civic, political, and social life.

    Countless people around the world harness the affordances of digital media to enable democratic participation, coordinate disaster relief, campaign for policy change, and strengthen local advocacy groups. The world watched as activists used social media to organize protests during the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, and Hong Kong's Umbrella Revolution. Many governmental and community organizations changed their mission and function as they adopted new digital tools and practices. This book examines the use of “civic media”—the technologies, designs, and practices that support connection through common purpose in civic, political, and social life. Scholars from a range of disciplines and practitioners from a variety of organizations offer analyses and case studies that explore the theory and practice of civic media.

    The contributors set out the conceptual context for the intersection of civic and media; examine the pressure to innovate and the sustainability of innovation; explore play as a template for resistance; look at civic education; discuss media-enabled activism in communities; and consider methods and funding for civic media research. The case studies that round out each section range from a “debt resistance” movement to government service delivery ratings to the “It Gets Better” campaign aimed at combating suicide among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth. The book offers a valuable interdisciplinary dialogue on the challenges and opportunities of the increasingly influential space of civic media.

    • Hardcover $55.00
    • Paperback $45.00