Electronic Participation (ePart) Conference

Revisiting the Conceptualisation of e-Campaigning: Putting Campaign Back in e-Campaigning Research

As political parties’ and candidates’ e-Campaigning has become increasingly complex and sophisticated, scholars accordingly devise conceptual frameworks to understand and describe this social phenomenon. Yet, there is little scholarly debate concerning the varying conceptualisations of political parties’ or candidates’ utilisation of e-Campaigning. A review of existing e-Campaigning conceptualisations reveals three major limitations: namely, lack of academic rigour, a technologically deterministic orientation of e-Campaigning practices, and variation in the coverage of e-Campaigning practices. Potentially, these limitations might impede the comparability of e-Campaigning studies over time and across countries. In response, this research paper proposes a conceptual, practice-based framework that builds on the existing research. This paper then uses empirical data from a New Zealand political party to illustrate the application of the proposed framework.