Technological change and the shifting nature of political organization


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ISBN: 978-0-415-42914-6

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Type of work: Book Chapter


e-Democracy | Politics and Political Science


Underpinning the study of politics is an understanding of organizational dynamics and their relation to collective action. This chapter addresses ways in which new communication technologies enable the development of a diverse array of organizational forms in the pursuit of collective interests. Taking advantage of the internet’s ability to reduce transaction costs, blur private and public boundaries, and enable accessibility to information and new types of knowledge management systems, actors have available new strategic possibilities for organizing. These options are no longer dependent upon the complex array of material resources and formal coordinating mechanisms needed in the past. We propose an integrative theoretical approach to this rich variety of collective action and forms of organizing. Toward this end, we advance a conception of collective action as communicative in nature, and offer a two-dimensional model of collective action space, comprising dimensions for (a) the mode of interpersonal interaction, and (b) the mode of engagement that shapes interaction. Conclusions address the implications of this new theoretical framework for contemporary organizations, organizing, and organizational membership.