Spaces of Open-source Politics: Physical and Digital Conditions for Political Organization

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Abstract

The recent proliferation of Web 2.0 applications and their role in contemporary political life have inspired the coining of the term ‘open-source politics’. This article analyzes how open-source politics is organized in the case of a radical political party in Denmark called The Alternative. Inspired by the literature on organizational space, the analysis explores how different organizational spaces configure the party’s process of policy development, thereby adding to our understanding of the relationship between organizational space and political organization. We analyze three different spaces constructed by The Alternative as techniques for practicing open-source politics and observe that physical and digital spaces create an oscillation between openness and closure. In turn, this oscillation produces a dialectical relationship between practices of imagination and affirmation. Curiously, it seems that physical spaces open up the political process, while digital spaces close it down by fixing meaning. Accordingly, we argue that open-source politics should not be equated with online politics but may be highly dependent on physical spaces. Furthermore, digital spaces may provide both closure and disconnection between a party’s universal body and its particular body. In conclusion, however, we propose that such a disconnection might be a precondition for success when institutionalizing radical politics, as it allows parties like The Alternative to maintain their universal appeal.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOrganization
Volume24
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)648–670
Number of pages23
ISSN1350-5084
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2017

Keywords

  • Affect
  • Affordances
  • Bodies in politics
  • Digital media
  • Imagination
  • Materiality
  • Open-source politics
  • Organizational space
  • political organization

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