Prototype Politics: Technology-Intensive Campaigning and the Data of Democracy

Date/Time
Date(s) - 11/11/2016
12:00 pm - 1:15 pm

Location
Halls of Fame Room

074f50a9dbf9967b1516f8b081f688fe1455123687_lGiven the advanced state of digital technology and social media, one would think that the Democratic and Republican Parties would be reasonably well-matched in terms of their technology uptake and sophistication. But as past presidential campaigns have shown, this is not the case. So what explains this odd disparity?

On Friday, Nov. 11 at noon in the Halls of Fame Room in Carroll Hall, the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy will host an interdisciplinary lunch open to faculty and graduate students from across the UNC system with Dr. Daniel Kreiss, associate professor in the UNC School of Media and Journalism. Dr. Kreiss will talk about his book Prototype Politics: Technology-Intensive Campaigning and the Data of Democracy.

Political scientists have shown that Republicans effectively used the strategy of party building and networking to gain campaign and electoral advantage throughout the twentieth century. In Prototype Politics, Daniel Kreiss argues that contemporary campaigning has entered a new technology-intensive era that the Democratic Party has engaged to not only gain traction against the Republicans, but to shape the new electoral context and define what electoral participation means in the twenty-first century. 

Prototype Politics provides an analytical framework for understanding why and how campaigns are newly “technology-intensive,” and why digital media, data, and analytics are at the forefront of contemporary electoral dynamics. The book discusses the importance of infrastructure, the contexts within which technological innovation happens, and how the collective making of prototypes shapes parties and their technological futures. Drawing on an analysis of the careers of 629 presidential campaign staffers from 2004-2012, as well as interviews with party elites on both sides of the aisle, Prototype Politics details how and why the Democrats invested more in technology, were able to attract staffers with specialized expertise to work in electoral politics, and founded an array of firms to diffuse technological innovations down ballot and across election cycles. Taken together, this book shows how the differences between the major party campaigns on display in 2012 were shaped by their institutional histories since 2004, as well as that of their extended network of allied organizations. In the process, this book argues that scholars need to understand how technological development around politics happens in time and how the dynamics on display during presidential cycles are the outcome of longer processes.

Dr. Kreiss’s research explores the impact of technological change on the public sphere and political practice. 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, Political Communication, Qualitative Sociology, Critical Studies in Media Communication, Research in Social Movements, Conflict, and Change, The Journal of Information Technology and Politics, and The International Journal of Communication, in addition to other academic journals. In his first book, 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.

Prior to this academic work, Kreiss worked for a number of political and nonprofit organizations in New York City and San Francisco, and was an active political blogger during and after earning an M.A. in Communication (Journalism) from Stanford University in 2004.

RSVP

Website RSVP are closed for this event. Please email nickwg@live.unc.edu to inquire about RSVPing.


Tagged: Interdisciplinary Lunch Series
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