Using the Web in the democratic process. The web-orchestrated 'Stop the Overlay' cyber-campaign

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-196
Journal / PublicationEuropean Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


In the 1996 US Presidential elections, new information and communication technologies (ICTs), particularly the Internet and World Wide Web (Web), began to play a visible role in US campaigns and elections, and its role has expanded to shape the political process more generally. Case studies have shown how the Web, for example, can facilitate the rapid exchange of information that is essential to coordinating political activity. By virtue of reducing the costs of communication, it has become accessible to grassroots organisations without the resources to mount more traditional media campaigns. This study looks in-depth at one campaign - Stop the Overlay - which employed the Internet and Web to effect public policy and regulatory change locally, but with implications for California and the US. Our study led us to employ the framework of an ecology of games to discuss the interplay among the separate but interdependent decisions and games that shaped the campaign. The case shows how this Web-orchestrated campaign was one element that reconfigured the ecology of games in ways that influenced policy decisions. It accomplished this not only by altering the costs of communication, but by reshaping access and thereby changing the networks of communication among political actors.