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Module Title
Political Communication and Public Affairs

constitution, parliament, public sphere, lobbying, political parties, media, political marketing, public affairs, propaganda, citizens, deliberative democracy

SCQF Points15
ECTS Points7.5
CreatedJanuary 2003
ApprovedMay 2006
AmendedJuly 2016
Version No.3

This Version is No Longer Current
The latest version of this module is available here
Prerequisites for Module

None in addition to course entry requirements or equivalent.

Corequisite Modules


Precluded Modules


Aims of Module

To enable the student to assess the role and function of communication in the public sphere and to evaluate the management and practice of communication within the political process as well as between government, media and citizens.

Learning Outcomes for Module

On completion of this module, students are expected to be able to:

1. Identify and define the ethical, legal and political frameworks within which political communicators and commentators and interest groups operate;
2. Analyse the role and function of communication in a variety of political cultures;
3. Analyse the forms and functions of mediation in the political communication process;
4. Critically evaluate the notion of public opinion and its measurement;
5. Evaluate, critically, the role played by public affairs practitioners and in particular the ethics and efficacy of lobbying.

Indicative Module Content

Political and media structures and their relationships. Political marketing; special advisers and spin; lobbying, briefings; propaganda; public sphere; political advertising, image and celebrity politics; public opinion and audiences and measurement.

Indicative Student Workload

Contact Hours

Full TimeDistance Learning

Directed Study

Directed Study

Private Study

Private Study

Mode of Delivery

The module will be delivered by a combination of formal lectures, seminars, and guest speakers. Students are expected to prepare for seminars and contribute to the discussion of the topics. Distance learning students are expected will be expected to participate actively on the discussion threads.

Assessment Plan

Learning Outcomes Assessed
Component 1 1,2,3,4,5

The assessment will consist of one piece of coursework

Indicative Bibliography

1.BRANTS, K. and VOLTMER, K., 2011. Political communication in postmodern democracy </I>. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
2.HERMAN, S. and CHOMSKY, N., 1995. Manufacturing consent: the political economy of the mass media </I>. London: Vintage.
3.McNAIR, B., 2016. An Introduction to political communication </I>. 6th ed. London: Routledge.
4.MORRISON, J., 2017. Essential public affairs for journalists </I>. 5th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
5.SAVIGNY, H., 2017. Political communication: a critical introduction </I>. London: Palgrave.
6.VAN ZOONEN, L., 2005. Entertaining the citizen: when politics and popular culture converge </I>. Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield.
7.ZETTER, L., 2014. Lobbying: the art of political persuasion </I>. London: Harriman House.
8.HARDING, J., 2009. Alpha dogs: how political spin became a global business </I>. Kindle ed. Penrhyn: Atlantic Press.

Additional Notes

Students will be expected to consult a range of journals and media sources to complement and maintain their knowledge of current affairs. These may include:
Campaign, PR Week, New Statesman, Prospect, Vanity Fair. Journals: Political Communication, Journal of Public Affairs. Further reading is available via Aspire.

Robert Gordon University, Garthdee House, Aberdeen, AB10 7QB, Scotland, UK: a Scottish charity, registration No. SC013781