By Any Media Necessary: Mapping Youth and Participatory Politics

Fiction / Narrative

Fiction or narrative storytelling can be a creative way to deal with political and social issues by imagining hypothetical scenarios or characters that illustrate a specific point. Fiction allows a wide range of freedom for the storyteller to experiment with different characters, situations, and outcomes. Often grounded in past experiences or present circumstances, fiction can present hybrid portraits of personality types or hypothetical futures

For example, the "No Health Care? No Problem!" video tackles the serious issues around the lack of health care access for undocumented immigrants. But though the film ends with a series of informative statistics to support its claim, the bulk of the argument is illustrated through a satirical, fictional scenario with an imaginary family. The family itself is a composite of those most vulnerable to health care issues, namely children and the elderly. Through a humorous story that pushes the bounds of logic, the narrative draws attention to the absurdity of their vulnerability and the negative effects of not having proper access to needed medical care.

Additionally, fictional characters and stories within popular culture can often become powerful sites for community building. With many of the groups, the initial meaning of the stories are expanded or reinterpreted to provide deeper social value to inspiring, fantastical narratives. The Harry Potter Alliance (HPA) for example is a strong example of storyworlds that become shared topics in which disparate groups can come together and start a conversation. For example, after the release of Man of Steel, HPA started a campaign called Superman is an Immigrant. The campaigned spurred a national conversation as well as a participatory tumblr to discuss what it means to be an immigrant in the US. Superman was chosen as a symbol of the powerful potential of immigrants, since Superman himself is an Alien immigrant from another planet. They weren't the first to make the connection, as Erick Huerta has been long blogging under the guise of a superhero immigrant. Also in 2001, Dulce Pinz√≥n created a photo series depicting immigrant workers as the true "heroes' of everyday life.


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