Taking Our Country Back: The Crafting of Networked Politics from Howard Dean to Barack Obama

Taking Our Country Back: The Crafting of Networked Politics from Howard Dean to Barack Obama

Paperback Oxford Studies in Digital Politics

By (author) Daniel Kreiss

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
  • Format: Paperback | 248 pages
  • Dimensions: 155mm x 231mm x 18mm | 272g
  • Publication date: 16 August 2012
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0199936781
  • ISBN 13: 9780199936786
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations
  • Sales rank: 715,303

Product description

Taking Our Country Back presents the previously untold history of the uptake of new media in Democratic electoral campaigning over the last decade. Drawing on open-ended interviews with more than fifty political staffers, fieldwork during the 2008 primaries and general election, and archival research, Daniel Kreiss shows how a group of young, technically-skilled internet staffers came together on the Howard Dean campaign and created a series of innovations in organization, tools, and practice that have changed the campaign game. After the election, these individuals founded an array of consulting firms and training organizations and staffed prominent Democratic campaigns. In the process, they carried their innovations across Democratic politics and contributed to a number of electoral victories, including Barack Obama's historic bid for the presidency. In revealing this history, the book provides a rich empirical look at the communication tools, practices, and infrastructure that shape contemporary online campaigning. Through a detailed history of new media and political campaigning, Taking Our Country Back contributes to an interdisciplinary body of scholarship from communication, sociology, and political science. The book theorizes processes of innovation in online electoral politics and gives readers a new understanding of how the internet and its use by the Dean campaign have fundamentally changed the field of political campaigning. Kreiss shows how these innovations, exemplified by the Dean and Obama campaigns, were the product of the movement of staffers between industries and within organizational structures. Such movement provided a space for technical development and incentives for experimentation. Taking Our Country Back is a serious and vital analysis, both on-the-ground and theoretical, of how a small group of internet staffers transformed what campaigning means today and how cultural work mobilizes and motivates supporters to participate in collective action.

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Author information

Daniel Kreiss is Assistant Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Review quote

"Politics and the Internet seem today to have been made for one another, as analyses, rebuttals, gaffes and innuendo fly across the web, feeding an insatiable demand for 'news.' In his vivid analysis of the Dean and Obama campaigns, Dan Kreiss reveals how political advocacy and social media were first harnessed and mobilized, as new media tools and field operations were yoked together in ways that ultimately transformed how candidates compete for office. This marriage of computation and empowerment makes for odd bedfellows, and its wide-ranging consequences for politics are deftly assessed in this rich study."--Walter W. Powell, Professor of Education and (by courtesy) Professor of Sociology, Stanford University "Online media excite and confuse political candidates and electorates. In Taking Our Country Back, Daniel Kreiss offers a sophisticated and engaging account of the place networked media occupy in politics. Kreiss combines empirical data with theoretically informed insights to tell the story of contemporary networked politics. This is pioneering work and an essential read for all interested in politics and public life." --Zizi Papacharissi, Professor of Communication, University of Illinois-Chicago The manner in which he balances his complicity with scholarly critique in [the] opening chapter sells the book as a work of skilled ethnography. I think it likely that Taking Our Country Back ... will become a core text in courses and discussions of 21st century political campaigning."--Josh Braun's blog"This is an important and detailed history of networked politics in the US. ...Highly Recommended."--CHOICE"The book's meticulous tracking of various technologies, firms, and staffers' careers contextualizes how the successful 2008 Obama campaign stood on the virtual shoulders of the 2004 Dean campaign. Ultimately, Kreiss's findings fill a gap in extant research by exploring the interrelationship of new media nad politics thro

Table of contents

Table of Contents ; Acknowledgements ; Chapter 1: Innovation, Infrastructure, and Organization in New Media Campaigning ; Chapter 2: Crafting Networked Politics ; Chapter 3: Dean's Demise and Taking on Bush ; Chapter 4: Wiring the Party ; Chapter 5: Organizing the Obama Campaign ; Chapter 6: Mobilizing for Victory ; Conclusion: New Media Campaigning from Dean to Obama ; Bibliography ; Notes