Political Science and Communication, 2004
Research interests: Web-campaigning, social software, transnational advocacy networks
Crossing the Campaign Divide: My senior honors thesis investigates Internet use by the 2004 presidential candidates and uses their online campaigning activity to shed light on the question of how political candidates can use the Web most effectively. In particular, I focus on the emergence of the social networking technologies most notably seen in the Howard Dean organization. These new technologies differ from other internet-based media because they allow users to contribute original content to websites, and because they enable sustainable self-organizing by bringing people together who are unlikely to have otherwise encountered one another. They have the potential to transform conventional political practices, creating a new type of campaign characterized by direct citizen involvement and bottom-up grassroots organizing. Social networking technologies can provide campaigns with benefits in the form of cash and support, but can also lead to a lost of message control. As such, they provide campaigns with an interesting dilemma and researches with an intriguing topic to examine.
How I came to the CCCE: I first became involved in the CCCE as a sophomore seeking to gain research experience by exploring an issue more extensively than any typical ten-week course allowed. Towards the end of winter quarter, 2002, I met with Professor Lance Bennett who taught an exceptionally interesting 'Media, Society, and Political Identity' course I was taking at the time. Together, we worked out an undergraduate research project that took me through the rest of the year. My first project, a study of the transnational fair trade/sustainable coffee network, led to three papers: The Sustainable Coffee Activist Network, The Moralization of Coffee, and The Sustainable Coffee Movements in the United States and Denmark.
My two and a half years at the CCCE has provided me with valuable research experience I would otherwise have gone without and has allowed me to blend what I have learned in the classroom with my own independent interests. It has been an integral part of my college experience and has enhanced my education greatly.
Papers: The Moralization of Coffee, The Sustainable Coffee Activist Network, The Sustainable Coffee Movements in the United States and Denmark: A Comparative Analysis, Crossing the Campaign Divide: The Dean Phenomenon
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