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Considering the recent interest in more interactive practices in political representation, this article argues that there is a need to understand the differentiated meanings and functions of this form of communication. The subject of political representation as interactive communication is addressed theoretically as well as empirically. A theoretical framework is presented identifying three strategic functions of interactive communication in political representation: (1) interactivity as accountability, (2) interactivity as inquiry, and (3) interactivity as connectivity. Also, empirical analyses are conducted among blogging politicians in Sweden. These analyses suggest that interactive communication among political representatives cannot be understood as either a radical change in terms of new interactive forms of representation breaking with earlier norms and ideals, or complete continuity. Instead, the argument is that representatives may adopt interactive communication strategically to fulfil different normative ideals of political representation.
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Keywords: Web 2.0; blogging; computer-mediated-communication; e-Democracy; political representation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Education and Social Sciences, Department of Political Science, Örebro University, School of Humanities, Fakultetsgatan 1 Örebro, 701 82, Sweden

Publication date: October 1, 2013

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