Telecommunications | Communication and Politics
T512 | 25681 | Bucy, E.


T512: Communication & Politics is a graduate level introduction to
the related processes of political persuasion, civic participation,
and the expanding role of media in politics. The seminar addresses
topics corresponding to these three interrelated processes. The
first section, on political symbolism and the rise of the modern
campaign, examines the nature and effects of political images.
Included in this component are the processes involved in visual
persuasion and the use of nonverbal communication by political
candidates and office holders. The broader role of the media in
democratic processes is next examined, along with journalistic
practices and problems. The final section of the course takes a
broad view of civic participation and the campaign process, focusing
on the role of media in presidential politics, presumed media
effects on participation, and competing theories about the nature of
participation itself. Of particular interest here is the rise of new
media and political entertainment formats that facilitate increased
citizen interest and involvement in public affairs. Although the
primary focus will be on the contemporary political scene, the
seminar will also examine historical transformations to the press in
America and overview how changes in the political process have
provided an increased role for the media, especially in recent
decades.

Beyond familiarizing students with political communication, goals
for the seminar include:

 to learn about theories of political symbolism and visual
persuasion;
 to develop a conceptual understanding of the effects of media
coverage on political audiences as well as political processes;
 to critically analyze journalistic practices considered
problematic and explore potential remedies;
 to examine new developments at the media-politics interface,
particularly campaigning and civic participation via the Internet
and World Wide Web;
 to provide students with an understanding of modern campaign
practices and different models of political-press relations;
 to trace relationships between media institutions and political
institutions, placing them in historical context; and,
 to read, think about, critique, and apply major political
communication concepts to research questions at the intersection of
media and politics.

Readings for the seminar vary by semester and include both textbooks
and online reserve readings.