In December 2018, I was invited to be part at an expert workshop on “cyber parties” at the University of Valencia under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Oscar Barberà. The goal is the establishment of a network of experts as well as of preparing common publications.
Over recent decades a new consensus has emerged around the organisation of political party campaigns. Stressing professionalization and central control, campaigns are seen to be dominated by party elites, with party leaders and paid staff defining their vision and activity. Yet, at the same time, growing evidence has emerged that local activists are conducting increasingly autonomous campaigns. In this context, the rise of digital technology raises interesting question about how parties are being organised. At present it is unclear whether online practices and campaigns are being prescribed and rolled out by elites, or by local entrepreneurs autonomously taking up these tools. Given concerns about the utilisation of digital tools, and a desire for regulation and oversight of practices online, it is important to understand how these tools are being adopted and whose behaviour therefore requires oversight.