Presentation on theme: "Political Communication Course overview Deadlines Essay topics Resources Introductory lecture Defining the concept political communication Social change."— Presentation transcript:
Political Communication Course overview Deadlines Essay topics Resources Introductory lecture Defining the concept political communication Social change and the rising importance of political communication
Course overview Lecture topics Propaganda Public relations, political marketing and spin Media as political actors Media effects Election campaigns Rhetoric and manipulation Foreign affairs and political communication Terrorism as/and communication Deliberation, e-democracy, and the virtual public sphere Truth, lying and bullshit in political communication
Assessments and deadlines Tutorial presentation (requirement, unassessed) Essay (40%) Exam (60%) Deadline for submitting essay (through turnitin): 6 December 2006
Essay topics Can/should there be limits to freedom of speech? To what extent is political speech the defence of the indefensible? Would less hostility between spin doctors and journalists be good for democracy? Are opinionated, partisan, biased media a problematic source for political information? Does a democracy require well informed citizens? What are the pros and cons of negative campaigning? Are democratic elections anything more than rhetorical contests? Can modern wars be won without communication strategies? If terrorism is a form of communication, then whats the message and who is the receiver? Should we abandon general elections and substitute them with deliberative polls?
Resources All titles on the reading list are accessible online or in the Heavy Demand section of Queen Mother Library Search engine E-journals databases E-journals alphabetical listing E-books
Defining Political Communication Chaffee (1975) Political Communication the role of communication in the political process McNair (1995) Introduction to Political Communication Any book about political communication should begin by acknowledging that the term has proved to be notoriously difficult to define with any precision, simply because both components of the phrase are themselves open to a variety of definitions, more or less broad. McQuail (1992) Political Communication in Encyclopedia of Government and Politics Political communication […] refers to all processes of information (including facts, opinions, beliefs, etc.), transmission, exchange and search engaged in by participants in the course of institutionalised political activities.
McQuails definition Communication in the political (constitutional) system of democratic society Media fulfilling instrumental functions in political communications as a reporter of events as a platform for the expression of political opinion as an instrument of political party organization and weapon in inter- party conflicts as a watchdog on governmental actions as an instrument of government for information and influence
Exchange between elites and masses Watts (1997) understands function of mass media to be that of intermediaries in the process of political communication, enabling the government and its opponents to speak to the electorate and the electorate to communicate with its leaders Perloff (1998) defines political communication as the process by which a nations leadership, media and citizenry exchange and confer meaning upon messages that relate to the conduct of public policy.
History of political communication research Beginning with the study of propaganda during and between the two world wars Walter Lippmanns Public Opinion (1922) Harold Lasswells Propaganda Technique in the World War (1927) Early focus on war/fascist/stalinist propaganda resulting in a general preoccupation with persuasive effects of political messages (through media) According to McQuail (Mass Communication Theory), first period of communication studies (1920s-1940s) characterised by belief in omnipotence of mass media
Social, technological, structural change 1940s-1950s first empirical studies of media effects, in particular campaign studies Minimal effects model Lazarsfeld et al, The Peoples Choice (1944) Low levels of information, high levels of partisanship, habitual voting Social change since 1960s Dealignment Technological change TV becoming main information medium Commercialisation, visualisation, tabloidisation Professionalisation of political communication Political marketing, campaign consultancy
Third age of political communication Blumler (2001) First age 1950s: easy access to media, political communication reflecting partisan positions, reinforcing rather than persuading, strong and stable political institutions Second age 1960s-1980s: Limited-channel network television, dealignment, consumerism, public skepticism about elites, increasing importance of political communication, and increasingly important role for media in political process, the modern publicity process Third age 1990s-present: Proliferation within and beyond mainstream media, abundance of channels, unlimited reach, possibility for interactivity
Effects of abundance Change in the politics-media relationship Limits of efficacy of news management Costs vs. benefits of political spin Decentralisation, localisation, diversification of campaigning Possible reintroduction of political substance at expense of spin Hypercompetition Populism talk-show democracy Centrifugal diversification Abundance of channels allows to move away from universal audience appeals towards fragmented targeting Internet Virtual public sphere E-democracy