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Political Communications: Media, Campaigns, and Citizens


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 6
  • Convenor and tutor: Laszlo Horvath
  • Assessment: to be confirmed

Module description

This module will provide an overview of main topics and methodologies in political communication, which we define as information flows among political and media elites and/or the public. We will draw on the academic literature to critically reflect on key issues such as the democratic performance of the media, citizens' trust in media institutions, misinformation and fact-checking, media and campaign effects, agenda setting, priming and framing. In doing so, we will also consider how these processes may be changing during the ‘fourth age’ of political communication with changes brought about by digital technology, a ‘disrupted’ public sphere, and a diversity of new political voices and messages. Through a range of case studies, this module will also introduce you to innovative observational and experimental research methodologies.

Indicative module syllabus

  • Information flows, channels and the boundaries of political communication
  • Media systems, public service broadcasting and citizen information
  • Journalism in a diverse society: diversity across audience, content and producers
  • Political logic vs. media logic: ‘concurrence and conflict’
  • Media effects: ‘virtuous circle’ or ‘media malaise’?
  • Election campaigns across the globe
  • The impacts of misinformation: what can we do about it?
  • Everyday political talk and the ‘third space’
  • Critical perspectives on digital technology and politics

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • recognise and describe a broad range of issues and methodologies in political communication research
  • apply advanced concepts and methodologies to critically analyse current issues in political communication, campaigns, media
  • apply these concepts and methodologies to other fields of study more broadly, such as political behaviour, elections, public policy, democratic theory
  • develop original arguments relying on a synthesis of core and further literature
  • confidently read empirical papers employing innovative research methods.