Epistemic heterarchy in Howard
I missed the last blog entry, so I figured I would get to it now, after completing the book.
"Epistemic heterarchy," as opposed to administrative hierarchy, is the decentralized organizational structure adopted by new media campaigns. Howard identifies the key characteristics as "lateral systems of accountability; epistemic and symbolic power basis of credibility; loyalties are project-based and given to membership or program..." (159). Howard uses the concept to contrast the organization of new media campaigns with mass media campaigns. He claims that mass media campaigns deliver projects sequentially, manage only a handful of messages throughout the campaign, stay on message and require strong candidate loyalty from members.
I am worried that Howard did not discuss the originality of "epistemic heterarchy" given that these companies arose in a (post-)dot-com world. For example, Voter.com sounds so dot-com to me. I worry that its organization has very little to do with politics, and a lot to do with dot-com culture. As another example, consider GrassrootsActivist.org. Its members met bouncing around in Silicon Valley in the early- and mid-nineties. How much of "epistemic heterarchy" has to do with political campaigns, and how much has to do with broader organizational trends?