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[liberationtech] Just a reminder...

Yosem Companys companys at
Thu Sep 27 13:58:58 PDT 2012

(Sorry if my last message looked rather cryptic.  The image didn't go
through, of course.  It was a reminder about this.)

Taking Our Country Back: The Crafting of Networked Politics from
Howard Dean to Barack Obama and the 2012 Elections
CDDRL Liberation Tech Seminar
September 27, 2012
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM

Open to the public
No RSVP required

Daniel Kreiss - Assistant Professor in the School of Journalism and
Mass Communication at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Drawing on open-ended interviews with more than sixty political
staffers, accounts of practitioners, and fieldwork, in this talk I
present the previously untold history of the uptake of new media in
Democratic electoral campaigning from 2000 to 2012. I follow a group
of technically-skilled Internet staffers who came together on the
Howard Dean campaign and created a series of innovations in campaign
organization, tools, and practice. After the election, these
individuals founded an array of consulting firms and training
organizations and staffed a number of prominent Democratic campaigns.
In the process, they carried their innovations across Democratic
politics and contributed to a number of electoral victories, including
Barack Obama's historic bid for the presidency, and currently occupy
senior leadership positions in the president's re-election campaign.
This history provides a lens for understanding the organizations,
tools, and practices that are shaping the 2012 electoral cycle.

In detailing this history, I analyze the role of innovation,
infrastructure, and organization in electoral politics. I show how the
technical and organizational innovations of the Dean and Obama
campaigns were the product of the movement of staffers between fields,
organizational structures that provided spaces for technical
development, and incentives for experimentation. I reveal how Dean's
former staffers created an infrastructure for Democratic new media
campaigning after the 2004 elections that helped transfer knowledge,
practice, and tools across electoral cycles and campaigns.  Finally, I
detail how organizational contexts shaped the uptake of tools by the
Obama campaign in 2008 and 2012, analyze the emergence of data systems
and managerial practices that coordinate collective action, and show
how digital cultural work mobilizes supporters and shapes the meaning
of electoral participation.

I conclude by discussing the relationship between technological change
and democratic practice, showing how from Howard Dean to Barack Obama,
new media have provided campaigns with new ways to find and engage
supporters, to run their internal operations, and to translate the
energy and enthusiasm generated by candidates and political
opportunities into the staple resources of American electioneering.
While these tools have facilitated a resurgence in political activity
among the electorate, this participation has come in long
institutionalized domains: fundraising, volunteer canvassing, and
voter mobilization.  Meanwhile, participation is premised on
sophisticated forms of data profiling, targeted persuasive
communications, and computational managerial practices that coordinate
collective action.  As such, I argue that the uptake of new media in
electoral campaigning is a hybrid form of organizing politics that
combines both management and empowerment.

Daniel Kreiss is Assistant Professor in the School of Journalism and
Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Kreiss's research explores the impact of technological change on the
public sphere and political practice. In Taking Our Country Back: The
Crafting of Networked Politics from Howard Dean to Barack Obama
(Oxford University Press, 2012), Kreiss presents the history of new
media and Democratic Party political campaigning over the last decade.
Kreiss is an affiliated fellow of the Information Society Project at
Yale Law School and received a Ph.D. in Communication from Stanford
University. Kreiss's work has appeared in New Media and Society,
Critical Studies in Media Communication, The Journal of Information
Technology and Politics, and The International Journal of
Communication, in addition to other academic journals.

Wallenberg Theater
Wallenberg Hall
450 Serra Mall, Building 160
Stanford, Ca 94305-2055

Kathleen Barcos

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