The literature on activism characterizes the recent transformations of activism as part of a process towards the “personalization of politics”. For structural or cultural reasons, committed citizens appear to be developing a new relationship to politics, seeking personal satisfaction in their engagement. We propose an alternative interpretation, and characterize this transformation as “do-it-yourself” (DIY) politics. Based on the protests against shale gas development in Quebec, we show that the DIY politics is the “logical” (in the sense of rational) result of citizens developing the means to compensate for the lack of institutional opportunities in the context of developments that potentially threaten their lives and livelihoods. Hence, rather than a quest for personal fulfillment, DIY politics must be understood as a more prosaic and contingent reaction to a specific situation, an individual and collective response to a situation experienced and perceived as problematic. In the conflict surrounding shale gas development in Quebec, which serves as our case study, we show that 1) the initial impulse to mobilize may be accurately interpreted as moving from the “territory of the self” (“territoire du moi”) to the “territory of the us” (“territoire du nous”), and that 2) it is the double failure of institutional representation that underpins civic engagement: the failure of institutional representation and the lack of representation by collective actors already in place.