This article investigates how the website has survived the paradigm shift due to the digitization of the political field. A careful review of the literature – which however lacks a systematic diachronic perspective – shows a pattern of functional adaptability of the website to the varying impacts and inputs of digitization variables on the political field. The centrality of the website lies in its becoming a cross-functional hub of a party’s digital activities. The website can no longer be considered merely as a communication channel but should rather be interpreted as an element of a party’s organizational structure. Our research adopts a comparative perspective as it considers the 10 main Italian parties alongside parties selected from among the major advanced democracies of Europe, America, Oceania, Asia and Africa. A total of 119 political parties’ websites have been analysed by means of Multiple Correspondence Analysis (MCA). We identified the analytical dimensions most able to explain the current functional nature of the websites. The analysis shows a prevailing tendency of Italian parties to activate functions promoting both online and offline mobilization. As regards the communication function, Italian parties tend to activate the top-down rather than the relational model. The website is still mainly conceived as a broadcast medium rather than as a digital communication hub.

Italian parties and the digital challenge: between limits and opportunities

Alice Fubini
2020

Abstract

This article investigates how the website has survived the paradigm shift due to the digitization of the political field. A careful review of the literature – which however lacks a systematic diachronic perspective – shows a pattern of functional adaptability of the website to the varying impacts and inputs of digitization variables on the political field. The centrality of the website lies in its becoming a cross-functional hub of a party’s digital activities. The website can no longer be considered merely as a communication channel but should rather be interpreted as an element of a party’s organizational structure. Our research adopts a comparative perspective as it considers the 10 main Italian parties alongside parties selected from among the major advanced democracies of Europe, America, Oceania, Asia and Africa. A total of 119 political parties’ websites have been analysed by means of Multiple Correspondence Analysis (MCA). We identified the analytical dimensions most able to explain the current functional nature of the websites. The analysis shows a prevailing tendency of Italian parties to activate functions promoting both online and offline mobilization. As regards the communication function, Italian parties tend to activate the top-down rather than the relational model. The website is still mainly conceived as a broadcast medium rather than as a digital communication hub.
Cristopher Cepernich & Alice Fubini
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/810879
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