The New Generation of Political Advocacy Groups

David Karpf

in The MoveOn Effect

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199898367
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949717 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Digital Politics

The New Generation of Political Advocacy Groups

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Chapter 1 provides an introduction to the book’s central argument. It uses the February 2011 labor protests in Wisconsin to examine the role that internet-mediated advocacy groups play in American politics today. It also discusses the prevailing scholarship on internet politics, arguing that it has fallen into two categories—“organizing without organizations/theory 2.0,” which examines new forms of online participation, and “political normalization,” which highlights the resilience of elite political institutions. The chapter also challenges existing arguments regarding “clicktivism” and suggests that researchers have overlooked the “organizational layer” of politics. Sustained, large-scale collective action such as the Wisconsin protests is mediated through a new generation of advocacy groups that have a substantial impact on the practice of politics. The largest effect of the internet on politics is felt not through organizing without organizations, but through organizing with different organizations. The chapter also introduces core terminology, explains the method of analysis, and provides an overview of the book.

Keywords: internet; interest groups; political advocacy; social movements; netroots; clicktivism

Chapter.  8497 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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