The Logic of Connective Action explains the rise of a personalized digitally networked politics in which diverse individuals address the common problems of our times such as economic fairness and climate change. Rich case studies from the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany illustrate a theoretical framework for understanding how large-scale connective action is coordinated. In many of these mobilizations, communication operates as an organizational process that may replace or supplement familiar forms of collective action based on organizational resource mobilization, leadership, and collective action framing. In some cases, connective action emerges from crowds that shun leaders, as when Occupy protesters created media networks to channel resources and create loose ties among dispersed physical groups. In other cases, conventional political organizations deploy personalized communication logics to enable large-scale engagement with a variety of political causes. The Logic of Connective Action shows how power is organized in communication-based networks, and what political outcomes may result.
W. Lance Bennett is Ruddick C. Lawrence Professor of Communication and Professor of Political Science at the University of Washington, Seattle, where he is also director of the Center for Communication and Civic Engagement (www.engagedcitizen.org). His research and writing addresses how communication processes and technologies can enhance citizen engagement with politics and social life. Bennett has received the Ithiel de Sola Pool Lectureship and the Murray Edelman Distinguished Career Award from the American Political Science Association; a Doctor of Philosophy, honoris causa, from Uppsala University; the Olof Palme Visiting Professorship in Sweden; and the National Communication Association Distinguished Scholar career award. Alexandra Segerberg is a Research Fellow in the Department of Political Science at Stockholm University and Associate Editor of the ECPR Press, the publishing imprint of the European Consortium of Political Research. Her research centers on philosophical, political and empirical theories of collective action.
Introduction; 1. The logic of connective action; 2. Personalized communication in protest networks; 3. Digital media and the organization of connective action; 4. How organizationally enabled networks engage publics; 5. Networks, power, and political outcomes; 6. Conclusion: when logics collide.