[artinfo] The Digital Party: Political Organisation and Online Democracy

Paolo Gerbaudo paolo.gerbaudo at gmail.com
Sat Dec 15 13:11:30 CET 2018

The Digital Party: Political Organisation and Online Democracy

Paolo Gerbaudo / Pluto Press

The book looks at the transformation of political parties in the 
digital era focusing on the cases of Podemos, the Five Star Movement, 
Pirate Parties, France Insoumise and Momentum. It is based on 4 years 
of research and 30 interviews with politicians, organisers and 
developers of participatory platforms and observations of rallies, 
campaigns, party offices and event.


 From the Five Star Movement to Podemos, from the Pirate Parties to La 
France Insoumise, from the movements behind Bernie Sanders to those 
backing Jeremy Corbyn, the last decade has witnessed the rise of a 
new blueprint for political organisation: the digital party.

Paolo Gerbaudo addresses the organisational revolution that is 
transforming political parties in the time of Facebook, Twitter, 
Instagram, and Cambridge Analytica. Drawing on interviews with 
political leaders and organisers, Gerbaudo demonstrates that besides 
rapidly growing in votes, these formations have also revitalised 
party democracy, involving hundreds of thousands in discussions 
carried out on online decision-making platforms.

Participatory, yet plebiscitarian, open and democratic, yet dominated 
by charismatic 'hyperleaders', digital parties display both great 
potentials and risks for the development of new forms of mass 
participation in an era of growing inequality. All political parties 
will have to reckon with the lessons of the digital party.


'In this refreshing, imaginative and conceptually sophisticated book, 
Paolo Gerbaudo takes us on a compelling journey across Europe to 
understand the digitally native political parties at the forefront of 
a profound process of organizational evolution. Gerbaudo convincingly 
explains the positive and negative implications of this process, and 
why it matters for the future of democracy' - Andrew Chadwick, author 
of 'The Hybrid Media System: Politics and Power'

'In a historic moment when political parties are losing their 
capacity to represent citizens, new party models have grown and often 
achieved unexpected success. This book is an important contribution 
to the conceptualization of digital parties and the understanding of 
their evolution' - Donatella Della Porta, Dean of the Institute for 
Humanities and the Social Sciences, Scuola Normale Superiore and 
author of 'Movement Parties in Times of Austerity'

'With a rare mix of narrative flair and analytical insight, Gerbaudo 
tells the riveting story of how tech-savvy leaders and 'connected 
outsiders' have reshaped politics in the digital era' - John Postill, 
author of 'The Rise of Nerd Politics'

'Paolo Gerbaudo shows how the internet shapes contemporary politics 
and vice versa. A must read for everyone interested in digital 
politics' - Christian Fuchs, author of 'Digital Demagogues: 
Authoritarian Capitalism in the Age of Trump and Twitter'

'Gerbaudo shows how technology-based "platform parties" are designed, 
how they fit into the history of political parties, and how they 
reflect changes in politics, society, economics, and communication. 
This rich analysis looks at both the promise and the limitations of 
these fascinating political experiments' - Lance Bennett, University 
of Washington

'This book by Paolo Gerbaudo goes deep into the 'morbid' crossroads 
of our present and offers us suggestive ideas on the key elements of 
its emerging political practice. A brilliant work' - German Cano, 
University of Alcala de Henares, member of the founding group of 

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