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Renewal of political parties - Digitalisation and political parties

by Dr. Jasmin Fitzpatrick, Jessica Haak, Anna Lopatina, Frauke Schöne

On hybridisation, dialogue orientation and cultural and structural change: How can established parties adapt to the new realities of digitalisation?

In times of accelerating digitalisation, adapting to new social realities is one of the key challenges for established parties. Which paths established parties take in this regard and which instruments they can and should use are not just exciting scientific questions. They are questions that are of crucial importance for the future of our representative democracy.

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The established parties are under pressure. This is evident in declining membership figures, the rise of populist forces on the fringes, but also stagnating trust ratings – at an alarmingly low level. As if these dynamic challenges were not enough, digitalisation is changing the political and social environment in such a lasting way that established parties must also continue to develop culturally and structurally with this in mind.

Renewal through digitalisation is an ongoing task for political parties in order to do justice to a constantly changing environment. Established parties in particular face special challenges when migrating to the digital sphere. While new parties have emerged in a digital environment and have been able to adapt processes to this environment from the outset, established parties have to weigh up which processes should be migrated to the digital sphere, which already work very well offline and which processes can be offered in hybrid form – i.e. offline and online – in order to meet the needs of members and supporters.

This study is not the only one to address which reform paths can be recognised in this development and which principles can guide action. These are also questions that play a central role for the future of (party) democracy in Germany.

Read the entire study "Erneuerung politischer Parteien – Digitalisierung und politische Parteien" here as a PDF. The publication is only available in German.

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