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Cyber-Parties: Offline-Online Hybridisation Patterns and Consequences

Cyber Politics
Democracy
Political Participation
Political Parties
Party Members
Electoral Behaviour
Political Activism
S072
Giulia Sandri
Université catholique de Lille – ESPOL
Jasmin Fitzpatrick
Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

Building: Institute of Romance Studies, Floor: 2nd floor, Room: 2.5

Thursday 09:00 - 10:40 (05/09/2019)


Abstract

Information and Communication Technologies’ (ICTs) impacts on political parties is a growing research avenue. So far, most of the academic attention has been focused on party competition and campaigning, while the intra-organizational dimensions have been somewhat under-researched ( Margetts, 2006; Ward and Gibson, 2009; Hartleb, 2013; Bennett, Segerberg and Knüpfer, 2018). Moreover, most of the research on virtual or cyber parties and party digitalization has so far concentrated with mainstream parties’ transition to the digital age, while the literature on new or emerging parties and ICTs has somewhat been attracted less attention (della Porta et al., 2017; Morlino and Raniolo, 2017; Gerbaudo, 2018). This panel focuses therefore on the displacement of traditional party organization through digital technology, and more specifically on the growing use of digital modes of decision-making and communication (mainly through the instrument of e-platforms) in both mainstream parties and new parties. The main purpose of this panel is to analyse how mainstream and new parties are building their e-platforms and transitioning from traditional (offline) organizations into the digital world. To this purpose, three main sets of research questions will be discussed in this panel. First, the panel will explore how the e-platforms are regulated and who is actually in charge of the platform. The potential answers to this question will consider the main faces of the party organization, the role played by the multi-level structure of the party, the relevance of the party leadership, etc. The second set of questions refers to which are the main affordances allowed by the e-platform to the party members and how these e-platforms are actually used or perceived as an effective instrument of political participation. A key issue here is the articulation of internal e-voting with other traditional membership rights and obligations, but also the way the e-platforms engage with the members and promote internal participation, and, finally, the way the e-platforms allow for external communication and campaigning activities. The third set of questions is related to the main consequences of these hybridization processes, both for party organizational models and electoral campaign potential. Potential papers could cover single empirical in-depth case studies that might focus on how ICTs are shaping parties’ main intra-organizational dimensions (communication, deliberation, decision making, membership, etc.), but also papers focusing on comparative case studies and more theoretically oriented papers linking political communication studies with political parties’ formation and institutionalization theories, and intra-party democracy debates.

Title Details
The Five-Pillar-Model of Parties’ Migration into the Digital Sphere View Paper Details
Political Parties and New ICTs: Between Tradition and Innovation View Paper Details
Is There Such a Thing as a Web-Native Party? A Comparison between the Use and Role of Online Tools in the Green and Pirate Party, Germany View Paper Details
Party Website Use among Spanish Party Members View Paper Details
Spanish and Portuguese Social Democracy Transition to the Online World View Paper Details
New Parties, ICTs and Members’ Empowerment: A Comparison between Movimento 5 Stelle and Podemos View Paper Details