political communication - central european university 2011

MA course offered in the framework of the MA in Political Science, Department of Political Science, Central European University, 2011. Download the full syllabus here

The course explores the interplay between the political process and the realm of media and communication. What is the relationship between the media and politics in contemporary Western democracies and transition states? What role do media play, if any at all, in fostering democracy? What are the features and mechanisms of the current media-ization and public relation-ization of politics? How do these two dynamics influence public opinion? How are politicians and political parties using the internet and social media to mobilize their supporters? Do these strategies work? How is political communication changing in times of social networks and blogs? How do citizens participate in the public debate, and use internet and blogs to intervene in the political discourse and influence politicians? In this course we shall critically examine key concepts of political communication, the main approaches and methodologies in the field, and the most recent developments. In particular, we will explore the shifts introduced by online media into current political communication dynamics.

Learning outcomes
By the end of the course the students will

  • Develop a postgraduate understanding of the main dynamics and mechanisms of contemporary political communication
  • Critically evaluate the impact and role of political communication in the democratic process in Western democracies and transition countries
  • Identify key historical moments and events in the evolution of political communication strategies
  • Engage with debates around the use of mass media and “new media” by politicians, political parties, governments, the army, citizens and oppositional social movements
  • Discuss the relationship between mass media and new media, the political process, and the public sphere
  • Test the acquired knowledge on political communication dynamics against contemporary developments such the Obama election or the Wikileaks case
  • Enhance their abilities to design, plan and carry out a research project, and to present and discuss ideas in a clear, effective and engaging way.