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Democratizing InequalitiesDilemmas of the New Public Participation$
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Caroline W. Lee, Michael McQuarrie, and Edward T. Walker

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781479847273

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479847273.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

Structuring Electoral Participation

Structuring Electoral Participation

The Formalization of Democratic New Media Campaigning, 2000–2008

(p.125) Chapter 7 Structuring Electoral Participation
Democratizing Inequalities

Daniel Kreiss

NYU Press

This chapter examines the impact of new technologies facilitated by political consultancies on public participation in an era of “digital” media campaigns that promise individual empowerment. Drawing on interviews with the consultants who harnessed participatory technologies in the 2008 presidential campaign of Barack Obama, the chapter looks at what it calls “infrastructural intermediaries” that produced new forms of participatory knowledge and practice to help realize and coordinate online electoral participation. While Obama's campaign appeared to fulfill the promise of participatory democracy, the chapter argues that digital media also increase voter surveillance capabilities and restrict engagement to fundraising, promotion, and political data gathering on behalf of the candidate. The Obama campaign illustrates how the nature of voluntaristic contributions and need to avoid overorganizing set bounds around the explicit management of electoral politics.

Keywords:   political consultancies, public participation, digital media, participatory technologies, Barack Obama, infrastructural intermediaries, online electoral participation, participatory democracy, voter surveillance, electoral politics

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