Friday, December 11, 2009

'The Whole World is Networking' Seminar

In HUMlab (and streamed live over the internets) today at 13.15, Daniel Kreiss from Stanford University will give a talk entitled, The Whole World is Networking: Crafting Networked Politics from Howard Dean to Barack Obama

While many scholars of online politics focus on the falling costs of information as enabling new forms of collective action, this talk argues that digital electoral practices are the product of the sociotechnical work of a network of individuals and organizations that give them a particular shape and form. Through open-ended interviews and participant observation I follow a network of actors that convened on the 2003-2004 Howard Dean campaign for Democratic presidential nomination and subsequently founded and joined many organizational sites in the political field, culminating in Barack Obama’s 2007-2008 presidential run. I show how these figures carried a host of digital artifacts and practices honed on the Dean effort to other electoral and advocacy campaigns. In contrast to many accounts that celebrate seemingly leveled, collaborative participation, contemporary Democratic electoral practices are premised on sophisticated data gathering and the convening and leveraging of peer networks for institutionalized campaign ends. I demonstrate how these sociotechnical practices create new electoral collectives that extend the agency of citizens in some domains while foreclosing more substantive forms of participation. I conclude by showing the cultural work that goes into motivating, managing, and legitimating these forms of collective action.

Come to HUMlab under the UB or tune in online at the appointed time.

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