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KAFP 3910 - Media and Politics

Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Autumn 2018-2019

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

The media “may not be successful much of the time in telling people what to think, but it is stunningly successful in telling its readers what to think about. The world will look different to different people” (Cohen 1963) We take this quotation as a starting point into the relationship between media and politics. It opens up several perspectives that we will try to tackle in this course. 1. First, the media tells something about the world. The issue is not simply whether this is “objective” (we doubt that there is such a thing as “truth”), but how new stories come about. It may have to do with politics and ideology, but before we come to this point, there are a lot of other important determinants. Technological and commercial constraints for a start: different media types face different constraints and those constraints may change over time, as a consequence of the economic, regulatory and social context. 2. Second, citizens, voters or public opinion receive something from the media that influences what they know about the world and how they think about it. On most issues, the media are our main or only source of information. When and under what conditions will information lead people to focus on issues, to change their mind or even to act? 3. Finally, we want to know how the media influences the real world. There are – at least – two major perspectives on this. ◦ First, as seen under point 2, there may be an indirect influence as the media may change viewers'/readers' perceptions of things. ◦ Second, there may also be a more direct link as policymakers try to anticipate voters' reactions on issues and act accordingly. We will look at those perspectives in turn. Thereby we will try to deal with a couple of transversal questions regarding the evolution of the media landscape, the quality of information, ethical issues and the relation to democracy. The ultimate goal is to better understand the role of the media in politics in all its dimensions, over time and across countries.


GROSSMAN, Emiliano (Associate professor)

Pedagogical format

Policy stream course - 24hrs.

Course validation

1. Class participation and readings: students are expected to prepare class readings in advance and to be able to participate in class discussions and presentations of those readings. This also includes overnight assignments or exercises (25%). 2. Assignments : Presentation of research of project (25%) / Term paper (3000 words max, 50%)


Readings. Additional work will be given by the professor in class.

Required reading

  • S. Iyengar, J. McGrady, 2007, Media Politics: A citizen's guide, New York: Norton.
  • A. Boydstun, 2013, Making the news. Politics, the media and agenda-setting, Chicago: Chigago University Press.
  • Iyengar, S., & Kinder, D. R. (2010). News that matters: Television and American opinion. University of Chicago Press.
  • Hallin, D. C., & Mancini, P. (2004). Comparing media systems: Three models of media and politics. Cambridge University Press.
  • Bennett, W. L., Lawrence, R. G., & Livingston, S. (2008). When the press fails: Political power and the news media from Iraq to Katrina. University of Chicago Press.

Additional required reading

  • Graber, D. A. (Ed.). (2000). Media power in politics. Washington, DC: CQ Press.
  • Iyengar, S. (1994). Is anyone responsible?: How television frames political issues. University of Chicago Press.