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Title: The Conservative Party and new media : a comparative history, 1951-1964 and 2005-2012
Author: Ridge-Newman, Anthony Stephen Trinity
Awarding Body: Royal Holloway, University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2013
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This comparative history seeks to understand the impact of new media in the Conservative Party. It does this with the analysis of case studies of original empirical research that are used to form cultural histories of the party 1951-1964 and 2005-2012. Both periods were characterised by significant techno-cultural advances in Britain in the form of television and the internet, respectively. This thesis asks, firstly, what role the advent of television played within the party, 1951-1964; and, secondly, what role the advent of specific internet technologies played within the party, 2005-2012. A third question is used to conduct a comparative history that reflects upon the two periods. It asks how the new media of television and the internet compare in terms of their impact on the organisational culture of the party. Historian John Ramsden described the party's organisation as a 'social organism'. Likewise, Richard Cockett likened it to a 'Darwinian' organism that utilises adaptability for survival. Similarly, this thesis evaluates the party in terms of its evolution. It does this using insider perspectives. 1951-1964 is informed using the collections of the Conservative Party Archive. 2005- 2012 is explored using methods that are influenced by ethnography. Diverse accounts using on- and off- line sources are included with oral testimonies of party insiders. This thesis takes an integrated approach to techno-cultural and socio-political studies, which allows a more holistic view through the cultural lens. The thesis argues that the impacts of new political mass communication technologies on the Conservative Party's organisational culture have been to further contribute to an evolution away from a massparty culture to a more technologically-centric culture, in which television 1951-1964 played a role in demanding further professionalisation of central-party culture; and internet technologies 2005-2012 most notably synthesised with the party in subcultures at the grassroots, which the author calls 'Cyber Toryism'.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Conservative Party ; Internet ; Television ; New Media ; Activism ; Organisational Culture ; Comparative History ; Ethnography ; David Cameron ; Winston Churchill ; Harold Macmillan ; Alec Douglas-Home ; Anthony Eden ; Party Organisation ; Party Change ; Facebook ; WebCameron ; MyConservatives ; BBC ; ITA ; ITV ; ConservativeHome ; Cyber Toryism ; Tory Party ; British Conservative Party ; Merlin ; Conservative Associations ; Social Sciences(all)