module specification

SM6052 - Media, Power and Politics (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Media, Power and Politics
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Computing and Digital Media
Total study hours 150
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
105 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Project
Coursework 50%   Essay
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Monday Afternoon

Module summary

The aim of this course is to present a critical review of key aspects of contemporary theory, research and practice in political communications and to address how these may be challenged by and transformed by new technologies and by sophisticated methods for shaping personalised messages. Using an inter-disciplinary perspective, the course will present the key theoretical concepts pertaining to political communication as normally understood in the West, then pose normative and empirical questions on how they can be assessed outside those contexts.

Module aims

This module aims to:

  • To explore social and political theory in the areas of power and policy-making;
  • To introduce students to key developments in  political communications in the UK and internationally;
  • To introduce students to alternative political communication systems and comparative work;
  • To look at political communication issues at the global level and related debates about transnational communications, citizenship and identity


An indicative programme of study covers the following:

  • What is Political Communication
  • Theories of Power
  • Professionalisation of political communication: Political Advertising and political PR industries
  • New media; New Politics; tabloidization of news
  • Culture, Politics and Power
  • Propaganda
  • Political Actors
  • Social Movements
  • International Political Communication

Learning and teaching

Teaching methods include lectures, seminars/discussion groups, audio-visual presentations, field trips, and guest presentations. Students will be expected to attend lectures and take notes; attend organised trips and will be expected to read from primary and secondary sources.

A blended learning strategy will be employed to enhance the learning experience, facilitate communication between students and tutors and develop collaboration among students. The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) will be used as a platform to support online activities including on-line discussions, evaluation of online resources, and access to electronic reading packs. The VLE will also be used to facilitate formative assessment and related feedback, as well as a tool to integrate useful online learning materials provided by research institutions, academic publications, professional organisations and other relevant sources.



Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Evaluate key critiques of existing theories and practices of political communications;
  • Analyse social, political and cultural theory and how these relate to political communications;
  • Compare and contrast political communication systems in different countries


Assessment strategy

  1. A Project (50%) which involves using the creative and practical skills that have been developed in first and second year: this can be audio visual, poster or multimedia platform. The student will test theories of political communication and ideology as applied to a specific current topic.  The topics will be set by or agreed with the module convenor.
  2. A 2,000 essay (50%) will assess a student’s ability to engage with key critical and current theoretical debates around political communications. This will include evaluation and comparison of political communications in different countries and how these are underpinned by specific cultural and political factors.


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Chadwick, Andrew/ Howard, Philip N. (eds.) 2008. Routledge handbook of internet politics. London/New York: Routledge. (available as e-resource)
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Deacon, D. and Golding, P.  (1994) Taxation and Representation. London: John Libby Press,
Dorey, P. (2005) Policy Making in Britain. London: Sage
Esser, Frank/Pfetsch, Barbara (eds.) 2004. Comparing political communication. Theories, cases, and challenges. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press.
Fairclough, Norman. 2000. New Labour, new language? London: Routledge.
Fenton, N. (ed.) New Media, Old News: Journalism and Democracy in a Digital Age, London: Sage
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