Presentation on theme: "Political Communication"— Presentation transcript:
1 Political Communication Lecture I: Definition and theoryLecture II: Media logic and effectsLecture III: Political rhetoric, marketing, PR, and their impactLecture IV: Deliberative democracy and IT
2 Political behaviour and communication Moving focus from sociological explanations of political behaviour towards the process of politicsTo what extent are citizens informed about, involved in, influenced by political events and processesTwo core questions of political communication studies:How democratic (inclusive, open, participatory) are democracies?How effectively can the public be manipulated?
3 Politics and communication Secret communication in politicsBargaining, negotiationsPrivate communication about politicsInterpersonal debatePublic communication of and about politicsDeliberation, information, rhetoricHorizontal communicationInteraction within elites, or among citizensVertical communicationBetween government/elites and public (mostly top-down)
4 Defining “Political Communication” Chaffee (1975) Political Communication“the role of communication in the political process”McNair (1995) Introduction to Political Communication“the term has proved to be notoriously difficult to define [...] because both components of the phrase are themselves open to a variety of definitions”“purposeful communication about politics”Denton and Woodward (1990) Political Communication in America“pure discussion about allocation of public resources[...], official authority[...] and official sanction”“crucial factor that makes communication ‘political’ is not the source of a message [...] but its content and purpose”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.”
5 McQuail’s definitionCommunication in the political (constitutional) system of democratic societyMedia fulfilling instrumental functions in political communicationsas a reporter of eventsas a platform for the expression of political opinionas an instrument of political party organization and weapon in inter-party conflictsas a watchdog on governmental actionsas an instrument of government for information and influence
6 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 nation’s leadership, media and citizenry exchange and confer meaning upon messages that relate to the conduct of public policy”
7 Public nature of political communication Implicit in all definitionsMcNair points out that since we have little to no data about secret or private communication about politics, we cannot consider these forms of interpersonal communicationWhen does public communication of and about politics become a systematic (systemic) feature of politics?In democracies, where all politics is inescapably publicIn ideological regimes, where all politics becomes essentially propagandistic
8 Democracy and publicity Political developments, decisions, plans, crises, negotiations, treaties etc. have to be communicated, publicised, publicly defended, put to debate, justified or spunThe pervasiveness of political communication is a consequence of the public nature of politics in liberal democraciesIt is irrelevant whether or to what extent existing democracies actually approximate the democratic idealOnce a democratic process is established, even if this were a complete façade, politics needs to be played out in public
9 Ideology and propaganda Establishment of political authority and subordination under leadership through belief systemsIdeological regimes aim to transform and convert subjects and are doctrinalThey require education and indoctrination of the publicIt is irrelevant whether ideology is understood as an end, or a means to an end, or whether leaders believe themselves in the truth that their ideologies preachOnce an ideological regime is established, propaganda becomes an essential feature of public life
10 Historical roots of political communication PersuasionAristotle’s rhetoricPublicityImmanuel Kant and the concept of hypothetical publicityPropagandaThe study of propaganda in the inter-war period preceded the later focus on forms of political communication (public relations, political marketing, electioneering, mass media effects) in Western democracies
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