Walter Lance Bennett
POL S 551
Surveys classic works and new directions in political communication, including functionalist, structuralist, constructivist, network, and comparative approaches, reflecting a range of methods. Examines political organizing, electoral and legislative processes, civic (dis)engagement, media and politics, public deliberation and opinion formation, political identity and discourse. Offered: jointly with COM 551.
Description. * A survey of the classic works and the new directions in the field of political communication. It is increasingly clear that democracy and citizenship are shaped by communication in diverse forms, from cultural practices, to polling technologies, to messages in the media, to campaign strategies employed by parties, candidates, and interest organizations. The ways in which communication affects perceptions of politics, society, and political identity will be examined through critical literature reviews, interviews with UW faculty, and student explorations of their own research interests. This course is appropriate for political science, communications, public affairs, and other social science students who plan to specialize in political communication, as well as for students who want to supplement their core work with knowledge of literature and research in this area.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Texts. Edelman, Constructing the Political Spectacle; Habermas, Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere; Zaller, Nature and Origins of Mass Opinion; Fishkin, Voice of the People; Bennett, News; Turow, Breaking Up America; Iyengar, Is Anyone Responsible?; Norris. A Virtuous Circle; Bennett and Entman, Mediated Politics: Communication in the Future of Democracy.
Class assignments and grading
Assignments. Assignments will involve critical reviews of readings, applications to research problems, and a synthetic state of the field essay.
Grading. Papers: 80 % Class/quiz participation: 20 % Other: % TOTAL: 100 %