Review of New Forms of Digital Communication and Political Organisation Workshop

By Cecilia HilderPhD candidate – Institute for Culture and Society/Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre

13 October 2014 

On 9 October I travelled to the University of Canberra to attend the two-day workshop 'New forms of digital communication and political organisation' organised by the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis (opens in a new window).

The workshop's keynote speaker was prominent digital researcher Lance Bennett from the University of Washington. Bennett's research interests include communication and the organisation of social movements, citizenship and youth civic engagement, and digital media and political participation. Bennett's paper, The Logic of Connective Action, explained the rise of a personalised digitally networked politics where diverse individuals address problems such as economic fairness and climate change. Bennett argues that The Logic of Connective Action shows how power is organised in communication-based networks, and the political outcomes that may result. 

Panel topics across the two-day workshop included: elections and social media; social media communication as political organisation; social media and social movements; and communication and political community. Speakers included Scott Wright (opens in a new window)(University of Melbourne), Henrik Bang (opens in a new window), Mike Jensen (opens in a new window), David Marsh (opens in a new window)(University of Canberra), Brian Loader (opens in a new window)(University of York), and Ariadne Vromen (opens in a new window)(University of Sydney) – a veritable who's who of my current reference list!

To be surrounded by so many enthusiastic academics and postgraduate students in my area of study was motivating and to broaden my understanding of digital communication and political participation and citizenship was a most welcome opportunity. Attendance at this event enabled me to refine my thinking around my project, and learn about other academics in the field whose material I am yet to incorporate into my own work. The genuine interest in my own research and theoretical framing of my project by workshop attendees was also very encouraging.

Thank you to the Institute for Culture and Society for supporting my trip; to my supervisor Dr Philippa Collin for encouraging me to attend; to Associate Professor Ariadne Vromen for alerting me to the event and to Dr Mike Jensen at the University for Canberra for enthusiastically allowing me to participate in this fascinating workshop.