1st Edition

Refiguring Democracy The Spanish Political Laboratory

    128 Pages
    by Routledge

    128 Pages
    by Routledge

    Spain has become a remarkable democratic laboratory in which millions of citizens are experimenting with new forms of political expression. This book examines the dynamics of this political laboratory, showing that the upheavals it is experiencing are likely in the near future to affect democracies elsewhere in the world. Examining the new means of participation that were established in fields where digital communication tools enabled the launch of novel dynamics of political action, the reader will gain access to a comprehensive analysis of the reshaping and mutation process that has affected fields such as activism, political parties and political participation.

    Using a case study of the Spain between 2011 and 2015, the book focuses on the changes that have taken place in politics and communication in Spain, paying particular attention to the 15M movement and its disruptive, innovative strength in all matters related to politics and communication. The chapters cover political repertoires and the hybridization of horizontal and vertical political logics; the appearance of new political parties; the establishment of monitoring mechanisms as an essential means of political expression and participation; and the subversion of rationality across media as a product of the communication strategies implemented by online political activism.

    Showing that Spain is not just at the forefront of democratic innovation, but that it is a political laboratory in which trials are taking place that tell us much about the future of democracy everywhere, this book will be of great use to scholars of political theory, democracy and philosophy.



    Chapter 1 The transformation of political logics. Beyond the ‘horizontal’ and the ‘vertical’?

    ‘Vertical’ versus ‘horizontal’

    Towards a differentiation of the 15M political repertoire

    The 15M political repertoire and the vertical-horizontal theoretical axis

    Activists’ responses to the vertical-horizontal axis

    Towards a characterisation of 15M


    Chapter 2 The emergence of new political parties

    From street protests to taking over the institutions

    The new parties and digital media

    The impact of the new parties on party-based democracy


    Chapter 3 The appearance of monitoring as an emerging political dynamic

    Monitory democracy: political transformation in communication-saturated societies

    Three main fields of monitoring: governmental, civic and shared

    Typology of civic monitoring


    Chapter 4 Two-way street mediatisation of politics or overturn? The social media communication models of 15M and Podemos

    Social media and mainstream media in today’s political communication

    The 15M communication model: the relationship between online political activism and the mainstream media

    Podemos’ communication model: take on the media without abandoning the networks *

    Conclusions: democratic innovations and contributions from the field of political communication

    Conclusion: the Spanish political laboratory in action



    Ramón A. Feenstra is a lecturer in the Department of Philosophy and Sociology at the Universitat Jaume I of Castellón, Spain.

    Andreu Casero-Ripollés is head of the Department of Communication Sciences and associate professor at the Universitat Jaume I of Castelló, Spain.

    John Keane is Professor of Politics at the University of Sydney and at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin, Germany.

    Simon Tormey is a professor at the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Sydney, Australia.