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Digital Politics in Time

Thu, August 29, 12:00 to 1:30pm, Hilton, Gunston West

Abstract

This paper argues for a cross-pollination of sorts, between Internet politics research and historical institutionalist/American Political Development research. It begins from a simple premise: The internet is no longer just the future or the present. It now has a substantial history. Rather than continuing to compare the “digital age” to the analog/broadcast/mass media era that preceded it, the paper argues that we can gain significant additional insights by adding a temporal dimension to digital politics research. The Internet of 2019 is different from the Internet of 2009, and we can better understand the underlying social processes if we anchor our research in these developmental processes. The paper additionally argues that, while digital politics scholars can benefit from historical process-tracing and situating their research within particular temporal moments, there is also a promising opportunity to help historical institutionalist/American Political Development scholarship to better incorporate media change into their theories.

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