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Digital Rank-and-file: Party Activists’ Perceptions and Use of the Internet

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Political parties are in a transitional phase. A declining, socially restricted membership, decreasing levels of activism and a shift towards more individualistic modes of political engagement threaten the linkage role that parties have played in modern democracy. The development of the Internet in a period of change has meant that it quickly became intertwined with debates about reviving representative political organisations. Using data from a survey of party activists in the UK (N = 4,770), this article answers questions about the perception and use of new media by party activists, the Internet’s potential for members’ participation and engagement and the penetration of the Internet in pre-existing political careers. In general, the article asks which role new media are playing in the transition of political parties.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 November 2004

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