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Special Study: Multi-Platform Political Communication

  • Module code: MD6015
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: Year 6
  • Credits: 30.00
  • Pre-requisites: Successful completion of Level 5 Media and Cultural Studies or equivalent
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

This special study module is an introduction to political communication from the lens of hybrid media environments. It enables students to examine the new research agenda and the emerging practices in this field of study beyond the limits of the media effects approach applied to traditional or mass media. The topics covered on the module are partly linked with the research interests and projects of teaching staff and will enable students to benefit from research-informed teaching in their final year of study. Students will undertake extensive exploration of the new challenges facing political communication in multi-platform contexts, drawing on pertinent theoretical debates and current media stories. Students will deliver an assessed presentation, and produce an extended and focused practice-based or essay-based project on a particular topic negotiated with the module leader.

Aims

  • To enable students to undertake a detailed and extensive study of a specific issue, topic or theme within the emerging research agenda of media studies and political communication as defined in the module guidelines and curriculum content.
  • To enable students to explore emerging trends in political communication in relation to pertinent theoretical perspectives and debates and with regard to their social and historical contexts.
  • To produce a substantial piece of independent scholarly work demonstrating research and independent learning.
  • To enhance students' skills of project and time management, negotiation, and presentation

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of how the convergence of mass media and social media is transforming the field of political communication research and practice.  
  • Utilise rigorously conceptual and theoretical perspectives and debates in the analysis of political communication across mass and new media texts, images, and practices.
  • Demonstrate critical understanding of the significance of social, historical and cultural contexts in their analysis.
  • Demonstrate an ability to work independently, negotiate research foci and to manage their time efficiently.
  • Demonstrate an ability to design and produce an extended piece of researched study in an appropriate format.

Curriculum content

Curriculum Content:

  • Key themes, debates and issues relating to the topic
  • Western models of public opinion: from mass persuasion to polarization
  • Symbolic and ritualized politics in non-western cultures
  • Socialization of youth, Diasporas, and minorities into the political process
  • Branding, advertisement, and lifestyle politics (personality, voice, face, dress)
  • Spin doctors, political scandals and cross-media events
  • Theoretical and methodological perspectives appropriate to the subject area
  • Theorizing political authority
  • Media effects: news media, agenda-setting and broadcast-centred model of political communication 
  • Media affects: networks, the media amateur, and interpersonal small-group communication 
  • Mash-up democracy: political communication and media interactivity
  • Project design and management and presentation skills workshops

Teaching and learning strategy

This module will be taught in a fortnightly, two-hour lecture and seminar block. Activities within this block remain as flexible as possible to allow the module to adapt to student interests and questions as they develop from readings and discussions. Seminars will encourage active participation and as part of this encouragement ask all members of the seminar to come prepared to ask specific questions of the group each session and, where appropriate, to lead discussions. Within the seminar format, students will present work in progress on their projects and also assessed presentations relating to key themes from the module content. Two practical workshops will be devoted to project design and management skills.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive KIS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Lecture and Seminars 22
Scheduled learning and teaching Tutorials and supervision 3
Guided independent study Research and reading in preparation for taught classes, and preparation of assignments 275
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

Students are required to produce an extended researched essay or a piece of practice informed research related to the module content. The title and scope of this will be agreed with the module tutor in advance and will enable students to develop focused and sustained work based on their own guided research and in response to the themes and concerns of the module. 

Students will also give a 15 minute presentation on an aspect of the module content in the first half of the teaching schedule. Presentations are designed to ensure students cover a range of material from the module. Students will be asked to present one of the topics covered in the module reflecting critically, and interconnecting theory and practice using relevant examples.

Formative assessment and feed forward opportunities will be provided through class based exercises and discussion and work-in-progress seminar presentations. These will also offer opportunities for peer review.

Breakdown of Element of Assessment:

a) The practice-based option:

1) Individual Presentation (30%)

2) Coursework (70%): Students will be required to produce a Portfolio of two pieces of work as part of their practice informed research project. 

1.      Practical Project: (50% of the mark for coursework)

2.      Extended research essay: (max 2,500 words, 50% of the mark for coursework)

b) The essay option: 

1) Individual Presentation (30%)

2) Coursework (70%): 

5.000 words research essay (100% of the coursework).

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of how the convergence of mass media and social media is transforming the field of political communication research and practice. The presentation and the extended researched essay/piece of practice informed research.
Utilise rigorously conceptual and theoretical perspectives and debates in the analysis of political communication across mass and new media texts, images, and practices. The presentation and the extended researched essay/piece of practice informed research
Demonstrate critical understanding of the significance of social, historical and cultural contexts in their analysis. The presentation and the extended researched essay/piece of practice informed research
Demonstrate an ability to work independently, negotiate research foci and to manage their time efficiently. The extended researched essay/piece of practice informed research
Demonstrate an ability to design and produce an extended piece of researched study in an appropriate format. The extended researched essay/piece of practice informed research.

Breakdown of Major Categories of Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment Name Assessment Weighting
CWK CWK 100
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

It IS NOT a requirement that any major assessment category is passed separately in order to achieve an overall pass for the module

Bibliography core texts

Chadwick, A., Howard, P. N., eds, (2009) The Routledge Handbook of Internet Politics. London: Routledge.
McNair, B. (2011) Introduction to Political Communication. London: Routledge.
Stanyer, J. (2007) Modern Political Communication. London: Polity.
 Wolfsfeld, G. (2011) Making Sense of Media and Politics. London: Routledge.

Bibliography recommended reading

Adorno, T., Frenkel-Brunswik, E., Levinson, D., & Sanford, N. (1950). The authoritarian personality. New York: Harper.
Ansolabehere, S. D., & Iyengar, S. (1995). Going negative: How political advertisements shrink and polarize the electorate. New York: Free Press.
Bennett, W.L. (1998). "The Uncivic Culture: Communication, Identity, and the Rise of Lifestyle Politics." Political Science and Politics, 31, 741-61.
Bennett, W.L., Lawrence, R.G., & Livingston, S. (2007). When the Press Fails: Political Power and the News Media from Iraq to Katrina. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Bernays, E. L. (1923). Crystallizing Public Opinion. New York: Horace Liveright.
Bernays, E. L. (1928). Propaganda. New York: Horace Liveright.
Blumler, J. G. & Kavanaugh, D. (1999). "The Third Age of Political Communication: Influences and Features" Political Communication, 16, 209-230.
Charles, A. (2012) Interactivity. New media, Politics and Society. Oxford: Peter Lang.
Couldry, N. (2010) Why Voice Matters. Culture and Politics after Neoliberalism. London: Sage.
Curran, J. (2011) Media and Democracy. London: Routledge.
Cushion, S. (2012) The Democratic Value of News. Why Public Service Media Matter. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan
Davis, A. (2010) Political Communication and Social Theory. London: Routledge.
Delli Carpini, M.X. & Williams, B.A. (2001). "Let us infotain you: Politics in the new media environment." In W. L. Bennett & R. M. Entman (Eds.), Mediated Politics: Communication and the Future of Democracy. (pp. 160-181) New York: Cambridge University Press.
Edelman, M. (1988). Constructing the Political Spectacle. Chicago: University of Chicago press.
Foster, S. (2010) Political Communication. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Hall, S. (1977). "Culture, the Media, and the ‘ideological effect.'." In J. Curran, M. Gurevitch & J. Woolacott (Eds.), Mass Communication and Society. London: Edward Arnold.
Higgins, M. (2008) Media and their Publics. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Kojève, A. (2014) The Notion of Authority. London: Verso
Lippmann, Walter. (1922). Public Opinion. New York: Harcourt Brace.
Louw, E. (2010) The Media and Political Process. London: Sage.
Marcus, G. E., Neuman, W. R., MacKuen, M., & Crigler, A. N. eds. (2007). The Affect Effect: Dynamics of Emotion in Political Thinking and Behavior. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
McCombs, M. E. & Shaw, D.L. (1972). The Agenda Setting Function of Mass Media." Public Opinion Quarterly, 36, 176-87.
Moore, D. W. (2008). The Opinion Makers: When Media Polls Undermine Democracy. Boston: Beacon Press.
Mutz, D. C. (2006). Hearing the Other Side: Deliberative vs. Participatory Democracy. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Negrine, R. (2008) The Transformation of Political Communication. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Negrine, R., Stanyer, J. (2007) The Political Communication Reader. London: Routledge.
Prior, M. (2007). Post-Broadcast Democracy. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Stanyer, J. (2012) Intimate Politics. Cambridge: Polity.
Williams, R. (1974). Television: Technology and cultural form. London: Routledge.
Young, D. G. & Tisinger, R. M. (2006). "Dispelling late night myths: News Consumption among Late-Night Comedy Viewers and the Predictors of Exposure to Various Late Night Shows." Press/Politics, 11, 113-134.

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