David S. Domke
POL S 452
Examines the foundations of the idea of public opinion in a democratic environment and the role of mass communication in the organization, implementation, and control of that opinion. Considers these relationships from the perspectives of societal elites, media, and citizens. Offered: jointly with COM 414.
Description. This course explores the close relationship between mass communication and opinions, both individual and collective in nature. In this course, we will discuss research that sheds light on how the various forms of mass communication – TV, newspapers, magazines, public relations, advertising, photography – substantially shape and reinforce our thoughts, emotions, behaviors, social relationships, and broader culture. Topics we will examine include the concept of public opinion, methods used to measure public opinion and whether – as media consumers and producers – we can trust these methods, and several theories that explore the sociological, psychological, and cultural dynamics of a mass media world.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Texts. There is no assigned text. The instructor will be putting together a collection of readings.
Class assignments and grading
Assignments. There are articles for reading each week. There are two mid-term exams – one in the fourth week and one in the ninth week. There is one group project on which students will work in teams of 3 people. Two-thirds of the group project will be a student’s own work; one-third will be the group’s work.
Grading. Exams: 60 % (2 ea. 30%) Papers: 15 % Project/presentation: 15 % Class/quiz participation: 10 % TOTAL: 100 % TOTAL: 100 %