USC Annenberg #PRFuture Podcast

USC Annenberg School's Henry Jenkins and Robert Kozinets on Fan Activism

Episode Summary

USC professors and fandom and culture experts Henry Jenkins and Robert Kozinets discuss the roots of activism in fan culture, and how companies can spark positive long-lasting change through dialogue with their own corporate fans. Henry reveals that the participatory culture of fandom, where fans debate in online spaces and advocate for change within their favorite entertainment brands, has empowered today’s young people to more actively engage in causes they are passionate about on a global scale. This discussion is part of our series reviewing the 2020 Global Communication Report on New Activism, available for free download at

Episode Notes

From Star Trek to K-pop, fan culture is everywhere — and as USC Professors Henry Jenkins and Robert Kozinets say, so is fan activism. This week, we’re taking a more theoretical approach to New Activism, exploring the roots of activism in fandom, and how corporate fans — also known as invested consumers — can help companies improve their corporate social responsibility initiatives. 

In this episode, Jenkins and Kozinets offer valuable insights into the ways companies can successfully interact with their fans on social issues related to business and promote civic engagement. They also discuss the do’s and don’ts of responding to widespread social activism and offer tips on staying connected with your company’s fandom from the c-suite.


Henry Jenkins (@henryjenkins), Author and Provost Professor of Communication, Journalism and Cinematic Arts, and Robert Kozinets (@Kozinets), Social media marketing researcher and Jayne and Hans Hufschmid Chair of Strategic Public Relations, both of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.


Fred Cook (@fredcook), Chairman of Golin, a global PR firm. Author of “Improvise - Unorthodox Career Advice from an Unlikely CEO” and Director of the USC Center for Public Relations

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