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Digital Politics in Western Democracies

, 304 pages

9 graphs

October 2013



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Digital Politics in Western Democracies

A Comparative Study

Digital politics is shorthand for how internet technologies have fueled the complex interactions between political actors and their constituents. Cristian Vaccari analyzes the presentation and consumption of online politics in seven advanced Western democracies—Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States—from 2006 to 2010. His study not only refutes claims that the web creates homogenized American-style politics and political interaction but also empirically reveals how a nation’s unique constraints and opportunities create digital responses.

Digital Politics in Western Democracies is the first large-scale comparative treatment of both the supply and the demand sides of digital politics among different countries and national political actors. It is divided into four parts: theoretical challenges and research methodology; how parties and candidates structure their websites (supply); how citizens use the websites to access campaign information (demand); and how the research results tie back to inequalities, engagement, and competition in digital politics. Because a key aspect of any political system is how its actors and citizens communicate, this book will be invaluable for scholars, students, and practitioners interested in political communication, party competition, party organization, and the study of the contemporary media landscape writ large.

Cristian Vaccari is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Bologna and a lecturer at Royal Holloway University of London.

"Greatly advances our understanding of digital politics while engaging with wider debates in political science, as well as media and communications studies, through rigorous comparative analysis and engaging writing."

"This is an interesting, unusual book that breaks new ground, and is indeed a very enlightening, informative one."

" Digital Politics in Western Democracies... is rich in detail, showcasing Vaccari's impressive knowledge of a wide variety of political contexts, and puncturing a number of conventional assumptions about how digital politics works... Vaccari's work is an impressive contribution to the literature on the internet and politics, which injects a much-needed comparative perspective into a body of work which has been overwhelmingly dominated by perspectives from Anglo-American academia... The work is recommended to anyone with an interest in how development in digital technology is driving changes in the political process."

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