The Spaces of Open-Source Politics: Political Organizing Between Imagination and Affirmation

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The recent proliferation of Web 2.0 technologies and their role in contemporary political life has inspired the coining of the term ‘open-source politics’. This article analyzes how open-source politics is organized in the case of a young radical political party called The Alternative. Inspired by the literature on organizational space, the analysis pays special attention to how different organizational spaces afford different practices of bottom up politics, hereby adding to our understanding of the relationship between organizational space and political organizing. We analyze three different spaces constructed by the Alternative as techniques for practicing open-source politics, and observe that physical and digital spaces create a vacillation between openness and closure. This vacillation produces a dialectic 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 fixating meaning. Accordingly, it is argued that open-source politics should not be equated with online politics, but may be highly dependent on physical spaces. Also, digital spaces do not always open up political processes, but may provide both closure and disconnection between the party’s universal body and its particular body. In conclusion, 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
Publication date2016
Number of pages35
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventThe 32nd EGOS Colloquium 2016: Organizing in the Shadow of Power - Napoli, Italy
Duration: 7 Jul 20169 Jul 2016
Conference number: 32


ConferenceThe 32nd EGOS Colloquium 2016
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