Participant Activism: Exploring a Methodology for Scholar-Activists Through Lessons Learned as a Precarious Labor Organizer


  • Michelle Rodino-Colocino

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Women's Studies, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA
    • Department of Film/Video and Media Studies, College of Communications, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA
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Corresponding author: Michelle Rodino-Colocino; e-mail:


Precarious labor has become an organizing issue for labor movements and a fruitful object of study for critical communication scholars. The work of communication scholars' challenging precarious labor's exploitation, however, has not been adequately explored, perhaps because communication scholars are not engaging in labor activism, but also perhaps because communication research for social justice has not yet been widely embraced. This essay offers remedies for both problems by exploring what I call “participant activism” through analysis of the epistemological and political lessons learned from working as a scholar and activist with WashTech (the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers), a high-tech labor union for precarious workers.