Academic journal article Global Media Journal

Online Videos, Everyday Pedagogy, and Female Political Agency: "Learning from YouTube" Revisited

Academic journal article Global Media Journal

Online Videos, Everyday Pedagogy, and Female Political Agency: "Learning from YouTube" Revisited

Article excerpt


YouTube, Learning from YouTube, Online DIY Culture, Critical Pedagogy, Female Political Agency, Social Movement Mobilization, Korean Candlelight Movement


This paper examines the political perspective of alternative online videos as a new mode of everyday pedagogy where individuals publish alternative standpoints on a certain social issue and mobilize others. As an exemplar, I argue how YouTube videos on Korea's candlelight movement in 2008 helped achieve people's grassroots mobilization efforts for their voluntary, non-violent participation, exhibiting popular, public sentiment against the Korean government's policy on importing U.S. beef. Examining how female protesters constructed their political agency via online communication, this paper further maintains that videos require rethinking the conventional roles of media spectacles that (re) produces the dominant ideology. Thus, with a critical dimension of the popular online videos, this paper contributes to providing media practitioners as well as media scholars with an innovative perspective on a dialectical relationship between popular culture, media technologies, and sociopolitical mobilization within specific cultural, social, and political contexts.


Examining the pedagogic value of individuals' video-sharing activities online, I will analyze how alternative videos on Korea's candlelight movements in 2008 update a notion of grassroots collective action mobilization and how the traditionally marginalized political subjects such as teenage school-girls and stay-home mothers come to exercise their political agency in the age of Web 2.0. With YouTube's phenomenal success, ordinary people's competence in producing alternative media representations has been revolutionalized, suggesting a new perspective on the intersection between popular culture, pedagogic practices, and political participation in everyday lives. When it comes to the notion of communicative action as a mutual, persuasive process between interlocutors, YouTube's technological attributes help individuals become active agents of popular pedagogy in the Internet culture of Do-It-Yourself (DIY). Especially, with online social-networking applications' thriving capacity to associate individuals with voluntary, grassroots organizations based on specific interests and concerns, YouTube's contribution to the democratization of media spectacle begets a significant political implication for direct democratic participation. In other words, alternative YouTube videos can rekindle the classic idea of freedom of expression as a fundamental condition for democratic, participatory governance, when everyday netizens publish alternative political perspectives and mobilize others on certain issues by producing online videos. In this respect, Korean people's active appropriation of online videos during the 2008 candlelight protests substantiated the key value of online DIY video's pedagogic and political potential, since they played crucial roles as citizen-journalists and movement organizers/ mobilizers. Thus, by doing so, I believe that they set an example for how to participate in politics, not as a patronizing process of the "elitist's top-down model," but as Dewey's (1954) self-governing mode of everyday participation.

Since there is a dialectical relationship between online DIY videos and political participation (Kellner & G. Kim, 2009; 2010; G. Kim, 2009; 2010a), alternative YouTube videos on the candlelight movements demand a more acute analysis on the medium's mobilizing competence when utilized by a critical mass of socially conscious people. However, there is a dearth of academic endeavors that examine the sociopolitical as well as pedagogic power of alternative online videos that provides traditionally marginalized people with viable means to mobilize voluntary collective action by publishing their grievance, concern, and agendas. Though there are some scholarly undertakings on YouTube's role in pedagogic and political participation, they are confined either to the liberal-functionalist paradigm that regard YouTube as an effective instructional tool in the given social condition (Trier, 2007), or to the pessimistic perspective that is skeptical of the medium's transformative potential for grassroots movement mobilization (Juhasz, 2009; van Dijck, 2009). …

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