Hybrid Politics Media and Participation (book review)

This is my review  of “Hybrid Politics Media and Participation”  by Laura Iannelli

for Media and Learning Newsletter  November 2017

Iannelli’s research for media relations, political participation, and democracy favours a systemic approach that goes beyond the rhetoric of “technological revolution” and seeks to focus on media hybridization and continuity over forms of political participation and power imbalance, involving new and old technologies.
The book is structured in three chapters: in the first, the main theoretical references to the relationship between power and political participation are referred to in the media sphere. In the following two chapters, the “hybrid media approach” is described, showing how non-elites can have more opportunities in the process of mediating politics, especially during elections and scandals. In the third chapter, case studies show how jamming practices between political discourse and pop culture are growing in interest for parties and the media industry. The cases include an analysis of what happened in Italy between 2009 and 2011, with the Five Star Movement, strongly based on the direct participation through the Internet and the rise to power of Matteo Renzi, the youngest prime minister in the history of the Italian Republic, which
translated the “generational change” into communication, using live streaming for its Q & A on Facebook and Twitter.
Iannelli warns us about the risk of oversimplification and the celebratory
narrative of digital media as a means of increasing political participation.
Although Brexit and Trump have shown us that social media are not so
transparent, we cannot ignore the growing number of countries where
social channels are readily under control in times of tension.

Published by SAGE, the ISBN number of this book is 9781473915787.

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