module specification

SM6052 - Media, Power and Politics (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
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
80 hours Guided independent study
25 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Project
Coursework 50%   Essay
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Wednesday Afternoon

Module summary

This module presents a critical review of key aspects of contemporary theory, research and practice in political communication and the mediatisation of politics. It considers how these may be challenged and transformed by new technologies and methods for shaping personalised messages. Using an inter-disciplinary perspective, the module examines key theoretical concepts pertaining to political communication as normally understood in the West, then goes on to pose normative and empirical questions on how they can be assessed outside those contexts.

The module aims to:

● explore social and political theory in the areas of power and policy-making;

● introduce students to key developments in political communications in the UK and internationally;

● introduce students to alternative political communication systems and comparative work;

● examine political communication issues at the global level and related debates about transnational communications, citizenship, identity, nation branding and soft power.


The programme of study covers the following:

● The nature of 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
● Nation branding and globalisation
● Propaganda
● Political actors
● Social movements
● International Political Communication

Learning Outcomes LO 1 - 3

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

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:

(LO1) Evaluate key critiques of existing theories and practices of political communications;
(LO2) Analyse social, political and cultural theory and how these relate to political communications;
(LO3) Compare and contrast political communication systems in different countries and identify key elements of mediatisation of politics and nation branding.

Assessment strategy

  1. Students will be asked to produce

    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. (LO1, LO2)

    2. A 2,000 word 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. (LO1, LO2, LO3)


Core texts:
Aronczyk, M. (2013). Branding the Nation: The Global Business of National Identity. New York: Oxford University Press.
McNair, Brian. (2017). An introduction to political communication; 6 th edition. Abingdon, Oxon:Routledge.
Savigny, H. (2017), Political Communication: A Critical Introduction, London: Palgrave.

Other texts:
Blommaert, J. (2005). Discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Chadwick, Andrew/ Howard, Philip N. (eds.) 2008. Routledge handbook of internet politics. London/New York: Routledge. (available as e-resource)
Delaney, S. (2015). Mad Men & Bad Men: What happened when British Politics met Advertising. London: Faber and Faber.
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.
Grant, W. (1995) Pressure Groups, Politics and Democracy in Britain. London: MacMillan
Hall, S. (1997) Representation, London: Sage
Lindblom, C. (1980) The Policy-Making Process. 2 nd edn., London: Prentice and Hall
Lilleker, Darren G. (2006). Key concepts in political communication. London/Thousand Oaks/New Delhi: Sage. (available as e-resource)
McNair, Brian. (2009). News and journalism in the UK. London/New York: Routledge. Mitchell, N. (1997) The Conspicuous Corporation: business, public policy, and representative democracy. Michigan: University of Michigan Press
Moran, M. (2003) The British regulatory state: high modernism and hyper-innovation. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Shlesinger, P., Miller, D. and Dinan, W. (2001) Open Scotland? Journalists, Spin Doctors and Lobbyists. London: Polygon
Seib, Philip (ed.) 2007. New Media and the New Middle East Basingstoke/New York: Palgrave MacMillan. (available as e-resource)
Sulkin, T. (2005) Issue Politics in Congress. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Triandafyllidou, Anna/ Wodak, Ruth Krzyzanowski, Michal (eds.) 2009. The European public sphere and the media. Europe in crisis. Basingstoke/New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Underhill, James W. 2011. Creating Worldviews: metaphor, ideology & language, Edinburgh UP.

Political Communication, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. (available as e-resource)