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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Walter Lance Bennett
POL S 551
Seattle Campus

Political Communication

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 identify and discourse. Offered: jointly with COM 551.

Class description

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

Recommended preparation

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 %


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Suman C. Chhabra
Date: 11/20/2000