Digital Electoral Politics
For my PhD research, I studied how Colombian politicians use information technologies during elections.
I found that political consultants use information technologies and social media to control tightly-knit electoral organizations that have existed for years.
This finding was surprising given the widespread notion that digital platforms expand participation for citizens. But my research showed otherwise.
The research process involved:
- 12 months of field research in Colombia for the elections of 2010.
- In-depth interviews with Colombian and American political strategists, campaign managers, digital consultants, media producers, journalists, politicians, and political activists.
- Participant observation at strategy meetings, focus groups, campaigning events, electoral observation training workshops, party headquarters, and electoral NGOs.
- Direct observation at campaign headquarters, political events organized via social media, and political consulting firms.
- Knowledge elicitation techniques with political strategists and digital consultants (meaning going over the work these consultants produce with them and asking them to talk about it).