Conditions of Campaigning in Dissonant Public Spheres and Crisis of Democracy

Pfetsch, Barbara
ISSN der Zeitschrift

Political campaigns have always been closely related to the technical conditions of media infrastructures, the social conditions of voters, and the political opportunities within which parties and movements compete. As campaigning has developed through the four ages of political communication (Blumler, Citation2015; Norris, Citation2002), it is now shaped by the affordances of digital platforms and networked communication ecologies in addition to legacy media infrastructures. In the environment of hybrid media systems (Chadwick, Citation2013), campaigning has also become hybrid – a task divided between the use of conventional information subsidies and the dynamics of social media and digital platforms (Azari, Citation2016; Wells et al., Citation2016). What is more, contemporary political communications and voter mobilization are taking place under two significant context conditions: dissonant public spheres (Pfetsch, Citation2018) are coinciding with a profound crisis of liberal democracy (Bennett & Livingston, Citation2018). The communication ecology and the state of democracy have produced a style of campaigning that is no longer geared toward a consensus among the established political elites and parties to engage in civilized speech, to conduct fair competition, and to stay within the limits and norms of democracy. In this essay, I shall discuss some of the features and consequences of these contextual conditions. I shall further argue that the coincidence of disrupted democracy and dissonant public spheres is related to profound structural changes in the party organization, campaigning and political leadership.

Verwandte Ressource
Verwandte Ressource
Pfetsch, B. (2023). Conditions of Campaigning in Dissonant Public Spheres and Crisis of Democracy. Political Communication, 40(3), 346–350.