Comparative Politics II: Political Communication


Course Objective

To acquire knowledge of:
• The nature of political statements, political discourse and political
• The representation of economic and societal events and developments in
political discourse
• Old media and new media and how they changed political communication
• The meaning of freedom of expression, freedom of the press and freedom
of assembly for media and democracy
• Classical approaches to elementary statements (e.g. Wittgenstein),
argumentation (e.g. Toulmin), political discourse (e.g. Machiavelli) and
media impact (e.g. De Tocqueville)
• Newer theories about public opinion and media effects (e.g. spiral of
silence, agenda setting, herding, priming, framing)
• Qualitative and quantitative research methods to investigate political

Course Content

The need to be heard is a central part of the political game. What
politicians have to say to their target audiences does not exist
politically if it does not exist in the preferred media of their
audiences. Three broad questions are central to the course. How to
represent social and economic developments, political dilemmas,
political positions, political conflict and political successes and
failures in appealing statements, speeches and debates? How do
(journalists in) old and new media represent the economy, politics and
public opinion in political news? How does the news affect economic
stakeholders, political stakeholders and public opinion? This course
helps students find answers to these questions with a combined
theoretical and practical approach. Theoretically, classic and more
recent literature on political and public communication will be studied,
looking both at media strategies and media effects. Practically,
students will learn how to conduct automatic content analysis and time
series analysis in order to analyse the effect of the media on stock
prices and political indicators.

Teaching Methods

Lectures and seminars (active learning groups to perform practical
exercises, using primarily R as a language). Please note that
participation in the seminars is mandatory.

Method of Assessment

Papers (67 %) based on the application of research methods in active
learning groups and written test (33 %) to assess knowledge and skills.

Entry Requirements

Mandatory courses PPE specialization Track 3: Political Science


Wolfsfeld, G. (2014), Making Sense of Media and Politics: Five
Principles in Political Communication, Taylor & Francis.
De Vreese, C., E. Albaek, A. Van Dalen and N. Jebril (2013), Political
Communication in Comparative Perspective, Cambridge UP
Research articles for practical exercise groups

Target Audience

Second year PPE students

Additional Information

Please note that participation in seminar is mandatory.

Custom Course Registration

There is a slightly different enrollment procedure for this module. The standard procedure of the Faculty of Humanities has students sign up for (i) the module, (ii) the form of tuition (lecture and/or preferred seminar group), and (iii) the exam. However, for this module the instructor will assign the students to the seminar groups. Therefore, students should sign up for (i) the module, (ii) lecture and (iii) the exam, but not for the seminar groups.

Recommended background knowledge

Mandatory courses PPE specialization Track 3: Political Science

General Information

Course Code W_JSM_213
Credits 6 EC
Period P5
Course Level 200
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator prof. dr. J. Kleinnijenhuis
Examiner prof. dr. J. Kleinnijenhuis
Teaching Staff dr. W.H. van Atteveldt
prof. dr. J. Kleinnijenhuis

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Lecture, Seminar*

*You cannot select a group yourself for this teaching method, you will be placed in a group.

Target audiences

This course is also available as: