Political Communication

Periodo di svolgimento
Ore del corso
20
Ore dei docenti responsabili
20
Ore di didattica integrativa
0
‌‌

Modalità esame

Prova scritta e orale

Prerequisiti

Optional for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th year students of the PhD Programme in "Political Science and Sociology"

Optional for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th year students of the PhD Programme in "Transnational Governance"

Optional for the 4th and 5th year students of the MA Programme in "Political and Social Sciences"

Programma

Course Description

Over the past two decades, political communication—an interdisciplinary field emerging at the intersection of political science and media and communication research—has become a core heuristics for the analysis of political systems. Whereas the growing importance of political communication as a field of study reflects the growing mediatization and digitalization of political life, the roots of political communication go back at least a century. Taking a long-term critical view, the seminar revisits the origins of propaganda studies and the subsequent evolution of different theories of media effects to consider how contemporary anxieties over fake news, disinformation, and manipulation of the public opinion have a long history. At the same time, the evolution of the media infrastructure from broadcast media to an increasingly networked infrastructure affects the relative capacity of state and non-state actors to influence the public opinion. Notwithstanding this global tendency, political communication is still affected by the specificity of regional media systems, with different structures of the media market, roles of the state, and professionalization of journalism. Finally, the seminar considers how in using networked communication for tactical and organizational purposes, social movements make a creative and non-strategic use of political communication, which may reflect and foreshadow deep societal changes.

 

Course Objectives

The course aims at providing students with a broad understanding of key concepts and methodological approaches to the study of political communication. By the end of the course, students acquire an historically grounded knowledge of how the field of political communication came about over the past century and the main debates and analytical frameworks that are currently shaping it.

 

Class Format

The course will meet twice a week for 180-minutes-long classes. Each class will be divided into three parts: 1) an introductory lecture by the instructor or invited speakers; 2) individual student presentations; and 3) extended discussions on lecture, presentation, and assigned readings.

 

Assignments

Students are expected to be active participants in the seminar. Reading requirements are to be fulfilled before the beginning of each class. Additionally, during the first class of the seminar, each student signs up to present the assigned readings for a class of her/his choice. Students are expected to be active participants in the seminar. Reading requirements are to be fulfilled before the beginning of each class. Additionally, during the first class of the seminar, each student signs up to present the assigned readings for a class of her/his choice. The presentation assignment consists of a 30-40 minute presentation on all the assigned required readings, with the optional support of slides and/or a short reflection paper. Students are encouraged to connect, where applicable, the readings to their own research. Each presentation should end with a couple of questions that may facilitate class discussion. All students are expected to prepare comments and participate in the discussion.

 

Assessment


Phd students

 

Presentation                                      50%

In-class attendance and participation  50%

 

Doctoral students are not required to write a paper as the instructor will only determine whether they have passed (or failed) the course. Students who miss more than one class may be asked to repeat the course.

Doctoral students who opt to write a term paper for this course must consult the instructor in advance and agree on a topic. Term papers should be approximately 20-pages long, references excluded, and are due no later than September 30, 2022.

 

Master students

 

Presentation (1 reading)                       25%

In-class attendance and participation     25%

Paper                                                  50%

 

Master students are required to write a 3,000-word paper (references included) to allow the instructor to express a grade on a 30-point scale. The paper can be written in English or Italian and is due no later than July 2, 2022.

 

Schedule of Classes and Readings

 

1. The Origins of Political Communication: From Propaganda to Public Relations

February 25 (Friday 11:00-13:00)

Watch The Century of the Self (part I), BBC documentary (UK, 2002), available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnPmg0R1M04

Mark Crispin Miller, Introduction to Edward Bernays, Propaganda (Brooklyn: IG Publishing, 2005 [1928]) pp. 9-30.

Harold D. Lasswell, The Structure and Function of Communication in Society. In Lyman Bryson (ed.) The Communication of Ideas (New york: Harper & Brothers, 1948), pp. 84-99.

 

Recommended:

Daniel J. Boorstin, The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America (New York: Vintage Books, 1961), pp. 7-12.

Jacques Ellul, Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes (New York: Vintage Books, 1965), pp. ix-xiii.


2. The Study of Media Effects

March 1 (Tuesday 14:00-17:00)

Watch The War of the Worlds, PBS Nova Documentary (USA, 2017), available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VypCVScwU1A

Elihu Katz and Paul F. Lazarsfeld, Personal Influence: The Part Played by People in the Flow of Mass Communications (Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers), pp. 15-42.

Hadley Cantril, The Invasion from Mars. In W. Schramm and D. T. Roberts (eds.), The Process and Effects of Mass Communication (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1971), pp. 578-595.

Shanto Iyengar, A Typology of Media Effects. In The Oxford Handbook of Political Communication (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017).

 

Recommended:

Maxwell E. McCombs and Donald L. Shaw, The Agenda-Setting Function of Mass Media. The Public Opinion Quarterly Vol. 36, No. 2 (Summer, 1972), pp. 176-187.

 

3. Spinning and Counter-Spinning, Framing and Counter-Framing

March 3 (Thursday 14:00-17:00)

Watch SPIN (dir. Brian Springer, USA 1995) https://vimeo.com/135380748.

Todd Gitlin, The Whole World Is Watching: Mass Media in the Making & Unmaking of the New Left (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2003), pp. 21-60.

Marco Deseriis, The Faker as Producer: The Politics of Fabrication and the Three Orders of the Fake. In M. DeLaure and M. Fink (eds). Culture Jamming: Activism and the Art of Cultural Resistance (New York: New York University Press, 2017), pp. 91-112.

 

Recommended:

Paul F. Lazarsfeld and Robert K. Merton, Mass Communication, Popular Taste and Organized Social Action. In L. Bryson (ed.), The Communication of Ideas (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1948), pp. 95-118.

 

4. Political Communication as a Political Ideal

March 8 (Tuesday, 14:00-17:00)

Jürgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1991), pp. 1-14 and 27-37.

Michael Warner, The Mass Public and the Mass Subject. In C. Calhoun (ed.) Habermas and the Public Sphere (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1992), pp. 377-401.

 

Recommended:

Yochai Benkler, The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom (New Haven: Yale University Press), pp. 10-12.

Joss Hands, @ is for Activism: Dissent, Resistance and Rebellion in a Digital Culture (London: Pluto, 2011), pp. 77-98.

 

5. The Logic of Connective Action

March 10 (Thursday 14:00-17:00)

W. Lance Bennett and Alexandra Segerberg, The Logic of Connective Action (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), pp. 19-54.

Anastasia Kavada, Connective or Collective? The Intersection between Online Crowds and Social Movements in Contemporary Activism. In G. Meikle (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Media and Activism (London: Routledge, 2018), pp. 108-116.

 

Recommended:

W. Lance Bennett and Alexandra Segerberg, The Logic of Connective Action (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), pp.148-193.

Natalie Fenton, Digital Political Radical (London: Polity, 2016),pp. 24-51.

 

6. The Hybrid Media System

March 15 (Tuesday, 14:00-17:00)

 

Guest lecturer: Alice Mattoni, Università di Bologna (to be confirmed)

 

Mattoni A, Ceccobelli D. Comparing hybrid media systems in the digital age: A theoretical framework for analysis. European Journal of Communication. 2018;33(5), pp. 540-557.

Andrew Chadwick, The Hybrid Media System: Politics and Power (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017, 1nd edition) pp. 1-29 and 55-59.

 

Recommended:

Andrew Chadwick, The Hybrid Media System: Politics and Power (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017, 1nd edition),pp. 113-136.

James Curran et al., Media system, public knowledge and democracy: a comparative study. In J. Curran (ed.) Media and Democracy (London and New York: Routledge, 2011), pp. 47-60.

 

7. Network Propaganda and the Post-Truth World Order

March 17 (Thursday, 14:00-17:00)

Yochai Benkler, Robert Faris and Hal Roberts, Network Propaganda: Manipulation, Disinformation and Radicalization in American Politics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), pp. 45-74.

Gabriele Cosentino, Social Media and the Post-Truth World Order: The Global Dynamics of Disinformation (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020), Chapter 1.

 

Recommended:

Gabriele Cosentino, Social Media and the Post-Truth World Order: The Global Dynamics of Disinformation (London: Palgrave, 2020).

Obiettivi formativi

The course aims at providing students with a broad understanding of key concepts and methodological approaches to the study of political communication. By the end of the course, students acquire an historically grounded knowledge of how the field of political communication came about over the past century and the main debates and analytical frameworks that are currently shaping it.