Tag Piratenpartei

New Publication: Digital Media and the Surge of Political Outsiders

Ralph Schroeder, Sebastian Stier, and I have a new article out in Social Media + Society. In “Digital Media and the Surge of Political Outsiders: Explaining the Success of Political Challengers in the United States, Germany, and China“, we argue that digital media neutralize two former monopolies in structuring political discourse and political coordination and mobilization. In the past, these monopolies allowed media and political organizations to channel politics.

This allowed them to arbitrate which political voices and options reached the public thereby filtering out challenges to the political status quo. On the plus side, this contributed to a more or less civil political discourse and kept extremists from establishing viable organizational challenges. On the negative side, this also limited the opportunities of legitimate but underrepresented voices to provide alternatives to the political status quo. By breaking these monopolies digital media extend the space of political competition for the good but also for the bad.

In the article, we discuss cases from China, Germany, and the USA how political outsiders have attempted to use digital media to mount a viable challenge to the political status quo thereby strengthening the position of outsiders across political and media systems.

A broadening of the spectrum of political discourse does not mean that extreme factions will win or stay in power. Instead of witnessing a decline of democracy driven by digital media, we are observing the erosion of institutions that kept discourse artificially restricted.

While the future of political competition might be noisier and less polite than we are currently used to, opening up the space of political competition might also be an invigorating stimulus that contemporary social conditions demand.

Abstract: There has been a recent surge of political actors and groups challenging the legitimacy of established political institutions and mass media. We argue that this wave is no accident; rather, it is driven by digital media. Digital media allow outside challengers to route around social institutions that structure political discourse, such as parties and legacy media, which have previously held a monopoly on political coordination and information distribution. Digital media have weakened the power of these institutions, allowing outsiders to maintain extreme positions that formerly would have been filtered out or suppressed by institutions structuring political discourse. In this article, we explicate mechanisms linking digital media to the rise of outsiders by discussing the successes of a diverse set of challengers fighting for attention and representation in the different political contexts of the United States, Germany, and China. We thus provide a novel explanation that systematically accounts for the political consequences of digital media.

Andreas Jungherr, Ralph Schroeder, and Sebastian Stier. Digital Media and the Surge of Political Outsiders: Explaining the Success of Political Challengers in the US, Germany and China. Social Media + Society 5(3): 1-12. doi: 10.1177/2056305119875439.

The German federal election of 2009: The challenge of participatory cultures in political campaigns

Today my article “The German federal election of 2009: The challenge of participatory cultures in political campaigns” was published in a special issue on Fan Activism of the journal “Transformative Works and Cultures” edited by Henry Jenkins and Sangita Shresthova. In the article I present three case studies from the campaign for the federal election of 2009 in Germany.

Abstract: Increasingly, political actors have to act in online communication environments. There they meet overlapping networked publics with different levels of participatory cultures and varying expectations of participation in the (re)making and co-production of political content. This challenges political actors used to a top-down approach to communication. Meanwhile, online users are increasingly politically involved as legislatures all over the world become more active in regulating communication environments online. These new political actors often share participatory practices and have high levels of new media skills. Now they are challenged to adapt these bottom-up participatory cultures to the traditional political environment. This paper examines these adaption processes by examining three examples from the campaign for the German federal election of 2009. These examples include the attempt of Germany’s conservative party (CDU) to encourage their supporters to adapt participatory practices, the German Social Democrats’ (SPD) top-down production and distribution of online content that mimicked the look and feel of user-generated content, and the bottom-up emergence of political flash mobs.

Andreas Jungherr. 2012. “The German federal election of 2009: The challenge of participatory cultures in political campaigns.” Transformative Works and Cultures 10. doi:10.3983/twc.2012.0310.

Guestpost for “Politik nach Zahlen” on Twitter Election Forecasts

With Pascal Jürgens [@pascal], and Harald Schoen I wrote a short blogpost for “Politik nach Zahlen“, a blog focused on empirical research on elections, hosted by the German newspaper Die Zeit. In “Twitterprognosen, oder: Warum die Piratenpartei beinahe die Wahl 2009 gewonnen hätte” we addressed the claim made by Andranik Tumasjan, Timm O. Sprenger, Philipp G. Sander, and Isabell M. Welpe in their paper “Predicting Elections with Twitter: What 140 Characters Reveal about Political Sentiment” presented at the AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, that Twitter would serve as a valuable instrument in forecasting election results. In their paper they found that the mentions of political parties on Twitter during a given time interval would closely mirror the election result. As the embedded diagram shows our results were not so encouraging.

More on that here.