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Challenges of online participation: digital inequality in party-internal processes

Challenges of online participation: digital inequality in party-internal processes
Challenges of online participation: digital inequality in party-internal processes
Parties adopt online participation methods in the hope of engaging a wider group of participants. However, literature on the digital divide suggests that this is unlikely to happen, as online participation remains dependent on the same factors as offline participation: income, class, education. Based on a mixed methods study of members of the Green Party Germany, this paper discusses the expected and actual effects of online participation tools on the participation of party members. Expectations are that these tools will benefit nearly everyone, but in practice, the goal to engage inactive members is only partially achieved: Younger members and those with lower educational attainments are mobilised, but women are not. These effect differ depending on the type of technology. I argue that this is an expression of the prevailing digital divide, which needs to consider not only a socio-demographic divisions, but also the multifaceted effects of different technologies.
Online participation, party-internal participation, digital divide, digital inequality, mobilization, reinforcement
Weizenbaum Institut
Thuermer, Gefion
4d516dd0-840a-4ae0-a3f1-cda3d5614e03
Thuermer, Gefion
4d516dd0-840a-4ae0-a3f1-cda3d5614e03

Thuermer, Gefion (2019) Challenges of online participation: digital inequality in party-internal processes. In Proceedings of the 2nd Weizenbaum Conference 2019. Weizenbaum Institut. 10 pp .

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Abstract

Parties adopt online participation methods in the hope of engaging a wider group of participants. However, literature on the digital divide suggests that this is unlikely to happen, as online participation remains dependent on the same factors as offline participation: income, class, education. Based on a mixed methods study of members of the Green Party Germany, this paper discusses the expected and actual effects of online participation tools on the participation of party members. Expectations are that these tools will benefit nearly everyone, but in practice, the goal to engage inactive members is only partially achieved: Younger members and those with lower educational attainments are mobilised, but women are not. These effect differ depending on the type of technology. I argue that this is an expression of the prevailing digital divide, which needs to consider not only a socio-demographic divisions, but also the multifaceted effects of different technologies.

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Thuermer (2019) - Challenges of online participation - Author's Original
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 14 March 2019
Published date: 17 May 2019
Venue - Dates: Weizenbaum Conference 2019: Challenges of digital inequality, Berlin, Germany, 2019-05-16 - 2019-05-17
Keywords: Online participation, party-internal participation, digital divide, digital inequality, mobilization, reinforcement

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 429191
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/429191
PURE UUID: d2ba791c-ef03-4105-abba-969671af1ef8
ORCID for Gefion Thuermer: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-7345-0000

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 22 Mar 2019 17:30
Last modified: 18 May 2019 04:01

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