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The Digital Origins of Dictatorship and DemocracyInformation Technology and Political Islam$
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Philip N. Howard

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199736416

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199736416.001.0001

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Political Parties Online

Political Parties Online

(p.84) Chapter 3 Political Parties Online
The Digital Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy

Philip N. Howard (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter shows that political parties play different roles in Muslim countries. In some, parties participate in competitive elections; in others, a single political party manages the state apparatus; and in yet others, political parties are hollow and ineffectual. The majority of these political parties support a vibrant secular political discourse online. The chapter traces the recent history of technology adoption by political parties and presents two findings. First, whereas in the past political parties could easily own, control, and incapacitate the news media, today it is much more difficult for them to maintain the same control over digital media. Second, contrary to received wisdom, the internet has not been taken up significantly by minor parties and radical challenger groups. Rather, it is the large, long-standing political organizations that have invested in information and communication technologies (ICTs) in a big way.

Keywords:   information technologies, communication technologies, Muslim countries, political parties, technology adoption, internet

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