Unexpected transformations: The Internet's effect on political associations in American politics [electronic resource].

Karpf, David A.
299 p.
Political Science.
Local subjects:
Penn dissertations -- Political science. (search)
Political science -- Penn dissertations. (search)
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Mode of access: World Wide Web.
What is the internee's principle impact on American politics? This dissertation argues that the major effects of the new information medium can be traced to the new forms of political association enabled by the online information regime. Dramatic reductions in transaction costs, combined with the condition of "information abundance," enable novel structures for collective action, shifts in nonprofit membership and fundraising regimes, and the development of large-scale, internet-mediated organizations. These organizations mobilize their related issue publics around an expanded issue set, using nimble tactical repertoires and new political engagement tools both online and off. As a result, the avenues for entry into America's elite political system are becoming more porous and we are seeing a redistribution of power within elite political networks.
The dissertation draws upon a variety of literatures and research methods to argue that we are experiencing a "generation shift" within America's interest group population. Similar in form to "interest group explosion" of the early 1970s, which also was rooted in the opportunities provided by new information technologies, we are not only seeing an increased number of political associations, but also a difference-in-kind with regards to their structure. The new groups define membership loosely, offer an expansive array of participatory opportunities, and jump from issue to issue, mobilizing around whatever topic is at the top of the public agenda. Their low overhead costs, combined with mastery of new technology, yields substantial competitive advantages over the older generation of advocacy organizations, making the new information environment a "disruptive" type of innovation.
The project explores the new generation of political associations through in-depth analysis of the political blogosphere, MoveOn, Democracy for America, and related organizations. It additionally discusses the dearth of online infrastructure among political conservatives, providing original theoretical contributions regarding the partisan adoption of innovative campaign technologies and strategies. Ultimately, the study concludes that the interne is creating new opportunities for political engagement, while rendering the longstanding interest group population vulnerable to the dramatic changes in revenue streams that have upset many other financial sectors. The result is a system that is still elite-dominated, but more porous in nature.
Thesis (Ph.D. in Political Science) -- University of Pennsylvania, 2009.
Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 70-10, Section: A, page: 4030.
Adviser: Rogers Smith.
Local notes:
School code: 0175.
Smith, Rogers, advisor
University of Pennsylvania.
Contained In:
Dissertation Abstracts International 70-10A.
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Restricted for use by site license.
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