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PAIR2039 Politics of the Media (Quant)

Module Overview

This module provides a theoretical and empirical overview of the role played by information, communication, and media within the politics of the modern state. Students are introduced to canonical as well as marginal and emerging perspectives on media politics and asked to weigh them against the empirical record established by extant qualitative and quantitative scholarship. The overarching question that will guide this course is the most important question in media politics today: under what conditions do the media increase the power of the masses and under what conditions do the media merely strengthen states and elites?

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

● Students will gain an independent and critical command of the essential questions in media politics. They will learn to engage with historical texts, theoretical texts, contemporary academic research, as well as cutting-edge contemporary discussions of media politics on the internet. In other words, students will acquire the theoretical tools required of any global citizen who would seek to produce new knowledge in the state-of-the-art of media politics. ● Students will be able to apply their knowledge to diverse real-world issues, questions, and historical trends. ● Students will improve their ability to develop original research questions and write formal academic research papers. ● Students will develop the oral and verbal skills necessary to communicate their ideas effectively to a wide range of audiences. In particular, through their engagement with contemporary theorists and practitioners of media politics online, students will learn the skills and norms required to become active and networked participants in both theoretical discussions and on-the-ground developments in media politics. ● Students will be able to conduct original quantitative analyses of political science data.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Have a critical, developed, independent perspective on the role of media in the politics across contemporary states.
  • Be able to speak, write, and disseminate online their independent perspectives on the main questions and issues in the politics of media.
  • Have a basic working knowledge of today’s incipient trends and questions in the politics of media, and their institutional landscape.
  • Have a more reflexive awareness of how the politics of media shape their own perceptions and behaviours.


Each week will be devoted to a theme where a diverse range of perspectives is presented. Typically, each week’s theme will expose the student to the main classic/canonical theoretical perspective(s), the main dissident/heterodox and typically more contemporary perspective(s), a qualitative empirical piece (case studies) providing evidentiary material and, where applicable, quantitative studies. The balance of these materials will be variable and depend on the nature of theme.

Special Features


Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Focused, directed readings which students complete before each session will provide the core material around which each session is organized. Each session will include a lecture providing a general overview of the main points which will be followed by discussion questions in response to which students will exercise their command of the material. These teaching and learning methods will achieve the aims and learning outcomes of the module by providing a focused, consistent, and supportive environment where students engage with the material in multiple ways (through reading, audible/visual lectures, and through their own speaking).

Preparation for scheduled sessions24
Wider reading or practice12
Completion of assessment task24
Follow-up work30
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Bennett, W. L (1990). Toward a Theory of Press-State Relations in the United States. International Studies Quarterly. ,40 , pp. 103-127.

Norris, P (2000). Virtuous Circle: Political Communications in Postindustrial Societies. 

Oates, Sarah (2008). Introduction to Media and Politics. 

Aalberg, T., van Aelst, P., & Curran, J. (2008). Media Systems and the Political Information Environment: A Cross-National Comparison. International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society. ,15 , pp. 255-271.

Lance Bennett, W., Breunig, C., & Givens, T (2008). Communication and Political Mobilization: Digital Media and the Organization of Anti-Iraq War Demonstrations in the U.S.. Political Communication. ,25 , pp. 269-289.



MethodPercentage contribution
Online communications exercise 10%
Research design  (2000 words) 30%
Research project  (3000 words) 60%


MethodPercentage contribution
Research design  (2000 words) 50%
Research project  (3000 words) 50%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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