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Scholars Day: April 11, 2012

Narrowcasting Politics: Diminishing Democracy?

Advances in online technologies have revolutionized the channels of communication between politicians and constituents. By gathering user information, high tech marketing firms provide political candidates with composite profiles of voters and constituents. Narrowcasting allows politicians to disseminate a unique message to highly specified audiences. Using the conceptual frame of issue publics the presenter examines the effects of narrowcasting on contemporary politics. Politicians have used demographic marketing for decades, however, the specificity, penetration into niche markets and appeal to individual interests is maximized in the Internet age. In the process, a politician's public image becomes fragmented. I examine the normative implications of this phenomenon on the individual and democracy. Targeted marketing creates a fractured, segmented, ill-informed public that is becoming increasingly isolated from the aggregate interests of our democratic society. In order to provide validity to my assertions, the political philosophies of J.S. Mill and James Madison will be applied.

Please note that presentation times are approximate. If you are interested in attending sessions with multiple presentations, please be in the room at the start of the session.
Presenter: Brandon Henahan (Undergraduate Student)
Topic: Political Science
Location: 30 Hartwell
Time: 9 am Session I