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Party membership given up or reconsidered ?


Abstract : Over the last 15 years, the academic literature has analysed forms of political activism the on-line environment might provide or facilitate. Empirical evidence brought information about online activists as people very interested in politics and over-active. At the same time, parties themselves were described as professionalizing, particularly with their communication activities. Membership is declining and members would progressively turn to be "supporters". However, the relationship between net-activists and party organizations hasn't been explored much: either surveys were conducted within parties, over-representing "traditional" party members and usually showing little difference between "offline" and "online" members; or they were conducted within the general population of voters, showing the limited impact of technologies over political engagement and political participation. This paper offers another perspective, looking at online political activism at an intermediary level between the general population and the party members. It explores how the (limited number) of people who get involved into an online campaign perceive parties and how they consider and practice activism. It shows that strong differences between party members and non-members remain, which tends to show that party boundaries haven't slackened yet, at least in France. However, qualitatively, distinctions appear between those who are mostly active online and those who are mostly active offline. The paper is based on quantitative and qualitative data (group and individual interviews) gathered during the French presidential campaign 2012, in the France-Québec project
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Dates and versions

halshs-00981408 , version 1 (22-04-2014)


  • HAL Id : halshs-00981408 , version 1


Fabienne Greffet. Party membership given up or reconsidered ?: Online political activism during the French presidential campaign 2012. ECPR General Conference 2013, Sep 2013, Bordeaux, France. ⟨halshs-00981408⟩
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