30572 - MEDIA, POLITICAL ELITES AND THE PUBLIC
Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 23
Synchronous Blended: Lezioni erogate in modalità sincrona in aula (max 1 ora per credito online sincrona)
The aim of the course is to examine how the mass media and political elites structure public opinion and political behavior, both from a theoretical and an empirical perspective. The course examines media and elites under different settings, focusing both on democratic and autocratic regimes as well as the relationship between media and foreign policy. Topics such as the persuasive effects of the media, strategic agenda setting of political elites and electoral campaigning are covered from a multidisciplinary approach, covering work from economics, political science and communication science. The course will also devote special attention to social media and put social media effects in a historical context.
The course introduces students to a basic toolkit used by researchers to understand the relationship between the media, strategic political elites and the public. The course will cover the following topics:
· An historical and comparative look at political communication.
· Media coverage and bias.
· Political elites and electoral campaigns.
· The persuasion effects of the media
· Autocratic media and propaganda campaigns.
· Empirical analysis of media effects.
· Social media advocacy and the use of social media in politics.
As might be expected for topics as broad and complex as these, while there is much we currently know, many debates are still open. The objective of this course is to weigh the available evidence – both descriptive and causal – to arrive at the fullest possible understanding of key themes within media and politics today.
· the key theories trying to understand and explain the persuasion effects of the media;
· different media regimes;
· how autocratic regimes utilize media and propaganda campaigns;
· the historical and comparative theory and research on political communication;
· social media advocay and the interaction between social media and politics;
· differences between the developed and developing world when it comes to media effects.
· use the theoretical and empirical insights presented during the course to assess and interpret the behavior of citizens, politicians and media actors;
· use the theoretical and empirical insights presented during the course to mechanisms through which media, elites and mass linkages operate or not;
· critically reflect on empirical insights presented during the course understand the role that the media plays in politics.
- Face-to-face lectures
- Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
- Individual assignments
- Group assignments
- Interactive class activities on campus/online (role playing, business game, simulation, online forum, instant polls)
Lectures will be structured according to the standard format: the instructor will present and elaborate on the material contained in the required readings, which the students will have read before class, so as to enhance in-class discussions and students’ participation.
On specialized topics, guest speakers will provide more background and insight.
In order to facilitate deeper understanding of the lecture materials, students will participate in group debates.
Some of the assigned readings will feature a high degree of knowledge and sophistication in terms of theories of politics and methods of analysis. Therefore, students’ attendance is strongly recommended. Although no formal prerequisites are required, the lectures will provide students some background that will help them gain a better understanding of the readings.
The attendance will be measured by the specific app available to all students. To qualify as an attending student and be allowed to take the exam, an attendance rate equal to or higher than 75% must be reported.
A group essay and presentation, participation grade, in-class quizzes, and a written general exam. The group essay and presentation will address one of the debate topics in the class. The general exam will be based on a mix of multiple-choice and open questions, which aims to assess the student’s ability to describe the main theoretical and empirical findings contained in the readings covered over the course of the semester.
An Individual essay and written general exam. The individual essay will address one of the debate topics in the class. The general exam will be based on a mix of multiple-choice and open questions, which aims to assess the student’s ability to describe the main theoretical and empirical findings contained in the readings covered over the course of the semester.
The required readings for this course will be scientific articles and book chapters that represent the key and/or state of the art contributions to the different topics analyzed. A complete list of the required and suggested reading will be provided at the beginning of the course and will be available on Blackboard.