The Nexus between Digital Technologies, Elections and Campaigns

Duncan Omanga, Admire Mare, Pamela Mainye

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Political campaigns constitute theatrical performances that are at the core of contemporary electoral processes. As choreographed performances, electoral campaigns rely on both physical and virtual spaces in order for politicians to mobilize, influence and encourage the electorate to go out and cast their votes. The mediation of elections and campaigns is generally done by the traditional media. In modern-day societies, the complex relationship between digital technologies, elections and campaigns in Africa requires a deep dive analysis of the ways in which different role players harness the potential of digital technologies for social and political mobilization. Prior to the coming in of digital technologies, ruling parties enjoyed monopoly over the dominant public sphere through carefully executed media blackouts, censorship of opposition voices and editorial interference in government-controlled media platforms. However, the mass uptake of social media has allowed opposition parties and activists to circumvent government monopoly over the print and broadcast media platforms. In this introductory chapter, the focus is on defining key terms, theorizing the relationship between digital media, elections and campaigns as well as summarizing the rest of the chapters. It argues that digital technologies have expanded the public spaces through which campaigns are performed, mediated and consumed. Besides disrupting decades-long monopolies over the media landscape, social media platforms are opening new convivial, carnivalesque and agnostic spaces for political discussions, digital rallies, real-time interactions between the candidates and the electorate, mobilization and sources of political news. It also highlights the negative side associated with the use of digital technologies such as hate speech, retrogressive forms of participation, internet shutdowns, surveillance, disinformation campaigns, cyber-bullying and hacking of biometric databases.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDigital Technologies, Elections and Campaigns in Africa
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781003800163
ISBN (Print)9781032551166
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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