From the Pirate Parties in Northern Europe to Podemos in Spain and the 5-Star Movement in Italy, from the movements behind Bernie Sanders in the US and Jeremy Corbyn in UK, to Jean-Luc Melenchon's presidential bid in France, the last decade has witnessed the rise of a new blueprint for political organisation: the 'digital party'.
These new political formations tap into the potential of social media, and use online participatory platforms to include the rank-and-file. Paolo Gerbaudo looks at the restructuring of political parties in the time of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and campaigning based on Big Data. Drawing on interviews with key political leaders and digital organisers, he argues that the digital party is very different from the class-based 'mass party' of the industrial era.
With new structures come worrying changes in political forms, such as the growth of power cliques and the need for centralised, charismatic leaders, the erosion of intermediary party layers and the loss of accountability. However, there is also a growth of strong unity at the centre and extreme flexibility at the margins, creating a promising template which could counter the social polarisation created by the Great Recession and the failures of liberal democracy.
Paolo Gerbaudo is the Director of the Centre for Digital Culture at King's College, London. He is the author of Tweets and the Streets (2012), and The Mask and the Flag (2017).
'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 Podemos
'A wide-ranging, and international, survey of those parties that have gone furthest to embrace the organisational changes the new modes of communication demand of us all and as such is a compelling read for the future of politics' - Philosophy Football
1. The Party Strikes Back
2. The People of the Web
3. When the Party Mimics Facebook
5. Death of the Party Cadre
6. Coding Democracy
7. Plebiscitarianism 2.0
8. The Hyperleader
9. The Superbase
Published by Pluto Press in Dec 2018
Paperback ISBN: 9780745335797
Hardcover ISBN: 9780745335803
eBook ISBN: 9781786803610