JeDEM - eJournal of eDemocracy & Open Government (Sep 2012)

The Dynamics of Participation and Organisation in European Digital Rights Campaigning

  • Yana Breindl

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 4, no. 1


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The paper examines the participation characteristics within internet-based collective action by analysing the case of digital rights campaigning. Drawing upon empirical findings from a case study (the “Telecoms Package” campaign, 2007-2009), we discuss how digital rights activists organise, collaborate and mobilise using websites, mailing lists, wikis and instant messaging channels. Participation is individualised and malleable. However, successful digital rights’ campaigning requires political, technical and social skills. To intervene in EU policy-making, activists need technical and political expertise and technological skills. As a result and contrary to claims of inclusiveness and openness, digital rights campaigning is in fact dominated by a small group of highly specialised movement entrepreneurs who mobilise occasionally to demonstrate broader support to policy-makers. The emergence of internet-based campaigning does not necessarily equal to more inclusive forms of participation. However, it allows for the engagement of resource-poor actors in traditional policy settings such as the EU.