Virtual Spaces of Political Communication: Political Parties and the Web. A Comparative Analysis.
The aim of my PhD project is to study how political parties belonging to three different European countries use the web to communicate. The objects of my investigation are political communication strategies on the Internet of the two prominent parties in Italy, France and the United Kingdom, according to the results of the last political elections. Therefore, I will concentrate the analysis on the web sites of the following six parties: Forza Italia and Partito Democratico (Italy), Union pour un mouvement populaire and Parti Socialiste (France), the Labour Party and the Conservative Party (UK). I have chosen to develop a comparative analysis to find possible similarities and differences that characterize their communication strategies. The overall aim is to study if there are elements (i.e. national political culture, national political socialization, position in the European or in the national Parliament) that could explain differences and similarities among the parties’ strategies in their use of the Internet. The decision to focus my attention on the Internet has been influenced by three main considerations. First, only the Internet gives the possibility to follow the modalities and contents of the communications of these six parties in three countries. Second, the Internet offers both the political party and the electorate the possibility of disseminating information and interacting by means totally different from those traditionally employed. Third, the attention paid to on-line politics has increased significantly and concerns a qualitatively relevant portion of population (and of the electorate) who are interested and even active in the off-line politics that constitute a great resource in political phenomena.