MCH8177 : Politics, Power and Communication

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The module aims to:

•       familiarise students with the key theoretical frameworks and current debates in the field of political communication;

•       provide an understanding of the impact of the media on democratic processes at national level and the shaping of international relations in a global context;

•       equip students with skills to undertake research in the field of political communication, to be able to analyse political discourses in the media (the production, distribution and consumption of these discourses);

•       engage students in a critical discussion of various theoretical models and their validity at both national and global level, especially in the context of the changing nature of technology and communication patterns that impact on the public sphere;

•       provide a thorough understanding of the ethical dimensions of political communication processes;

•       familiarise students with the processes of political marketing and advertising and the role of PR in political communication;

•       explore the processes involved in reporting on conflicts.

Outline Of Syllabus

BLOCK A – Theories and debates in political communication
1)       Packaging Politics in Britain’s Media Democracy: Key issues in Political Communication
2)       Aristotle and theories of rhetoric
3)       Theoretical Approaches to News Media: Bob McChesney’s Political Economy of US journalism and Herman and Chomsky’s propaganda model; Hallin & Mancini’s model of media and politics.
4)       Screening: Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent

BLOCK B – Reporting politics and election campaigns
5)       Keeping an Eye on the House: Newspaper, Television and Web reporting of Parliament
6)       Election campaigns, political parties and the press. Local, national and international perspectives
7)       New Labour, New Language
8)       Screening: News from No. 10

BLOCK C – Media and Conflict
9)       Symbols, myths and national identity in political communication: The myth of the Blitz spirit in political and journalistic responses to the London bombings
10)       War, Politics and Propaganda: War correspondents and “embedded” reporters
11)       Revolution or delusion? The implications of digital media technologies for journalism and political communications
12)       Screening: Pilger or Embeds documentary

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion240:0080:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture122:0024:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading130:0030:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00seminars
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study154:0054:00N/A
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
MCH3077Politics, Power and Communication
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module examines the practices of political communication in contemporary society and introduces key theoretical and methodological approaches for the study of production, distribution and consumption of political discourses. It uses the formal lectures to provide an initial guide to impart this knowledge via interactive sessions. The sessions provide the basis through which advanced study designed to engage with the forefront of academic study can take place. Alongside the lectures, seminars provide a space where students can engage in critical discussions of the theoretical frameworks presented during the lectures as well as a relevant range of case studies and examples. A number of optional tutorials with the students will take place that will provide extra support as and where necessary. These tutorials will invite students to reflect on their own learning practices, leading them to consider the areas they need further support and guidance.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2A60Essay, 2500 words
Case study2M40Case study, 1500 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The theoretical essay will allow students to make proof of advanced analytical and critical skills, to develop their information literacy skills while exploring the relevant body of literature and practice their writing skills. They will demonstrate a thorough understanding of the chosen theoretical framework, its importance in developing a clear and coherent argument, as well as its limitations.

The assessed case study will test students’ research skills, problem solving abilities, adaptability and initiative, as well as the student’s critical use of relevant research and theoretical perspectives based on the collection and submission of empirical material.
Both assessments allow students to develop critical and evaluative skills and stress the importance of working to deadlines and goals.

Reading Lists