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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

COMM5615M Keywords in Political Communication

30 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Julie Firmstone

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Module replaces

COMM5610M Politics and the Media

This module is not approved as an Elective


On completion of this module, students should be able to ...
This module explores the theoretical foundations of political communication in contemporary societies. It takes a broad comparative approach, analysing the development of political communication both across time and across different contemporary political contexts. Organised around a number of ‘keywords’ or concepts that are central to understanding the dynamics of political communication, students will examine how emergent media technologies and uncertain political realities bring new opportunities and challenges to various political actors. Is political activity now driven by ‘media logic? Does tabloidization undermine democratic values? Are elections now contested on social media?

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to:
- understand the role of communication in democratic politics;
- comprehend and critically discuss different theoretical approaches to political communication;
- discuss the normative foundations of public communication in democratic politics;
- evaluate the way in which the media shape the presentation of politics and how this affects the political process;
- critically assess the media's impact on electoral politics;
- analyse the interaction between political actors and its implications for political strategies;
- compare the role of the media across different political contexts of both established and emerging democracies.

Skills outcomes
Students will also acquire skills, such as:
- working in teams;
- engaging in constructive group discussions;
- using case studies to illustrate theoretical ideas;
- presenting research to a classroom audience;
- critically evaluating scholarly debates in political communication;
- making effective use of theoretical concepts;
- developing a coherent argument and presenting it in written form;
- applying academic rules and conventions in academic writing


The 10 seminars are organised according to keywords and concepts that will help the students to understand both the established concerns and emerging dynamics of political communication. The specific keywords might change according to teaching staff specialisms and current debates in the field. Indicative key concepts and themes include Election Campaigns, Political Protest, Popular Culture and Political Optics, Tabloidisation, Populism, and Disinformation.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours280.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Students are required to prepare for each class (10 hours preparation per class: 100 hours)
and prepare for oral presentations with their study group (30 hours). The remaining private study time should be dedicated to thinking about, preparing and writing the required essays (75 hours each).

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

The first assignment has to be submitted in week 7 and feedback will be given before the Christmas break so that feedback can inform the second assignment (essay), which will be submitted at the beginning of the Examination period in January.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 3,000 - 3,50065.00
Literature Reviewcritical evaluation of a key debate in mediated politics (2,000 - 2,500)35.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Resits are the same format as above. Usually a new question to be chosen from the Module Handbook.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 22/09/2023


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