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Politics, Media and Democratic Engagement: Module Reading List

Politics, Media and Democratic Engagement, 2021/22, Semester 1
Dr Eike Rinke
Tutor information is taken from the Module Catalogue


Week 1 – Introduction to the Module

Suggested Reading:

Davis, A. 2019. Political communication: A new introduction for crisis times. Cambridge: Polity Press. [Introduction (pp.3-14)] 

Further Reading:

Blumler, J.G. 2016. The fourth age of political communication. Politiques de communication. 6, pp.19–30.  

Rinke, E.M. 2017. A framework for critical-empiricist research in political communication. International Communication Association preconference "Normative Theory in Communication Research". San Diego, CA.


Week 2 – Contemporary Public Communication: Hybridity and Crisis

Required Reading:

Blumler, J.G. 2018. The crisis of public communication, 1995–2017. Javnost - The Public. 25(1–2), pp.83–92.  

Blumler, J.G. and Coleman, S. 2010. Political communication in freefall: The British case—and others? International Journal of Press/Politics. 15(2), pp.139–154.  

Chadwick, A. 2017. The hybrid media system: Politics and power 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press.  

Further Reading:

Blumler, J.G. 2015. Core theories of political communication: Foundational and freshly minted. Communication Theory. 25(4), pp.426–438.

Gaber, I. 2016. Is there still a ‘crisis in public communication’ (if there ever was one)? The UK experience. Journalism. 17(5), pp.636–651.

McQuail, D. 2013. Reflections on paradigm change in communication theory and research. International Journal of Communication. 13, pp.216–229.


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Week 3 – Normative Models of Democracy and the Media

Required Reading:

Drale, C.S. 2004. Communication media in a democratic society. Communication Law and Policy. 9(2), pp.213–235.  

Ferree, M.M., Gamson, W.A., Gerhards, J. and Rucht, D. 2002. Four models of the public sphere in modern democracies. Theory and Society. 31(3), pp.289–324.  

Habermas, J. 1994. Three normative models of democracy. Constellations. 1(1), pp.1–10.   Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva 

Further Reading:

Bro, P. 2008. Normative navigation in the news media. Journalism. 9(3), pp.309–329.

Couldry, N. 2019. Capabilities for what? Developing Sen’s moral theory for communications research. Journal of Information Policy. 9, pp.43–55.

Strömbäck, J. 2005. In search of a standard: Four models of democracy and their normative implications for journalism. Journalism Studies. 6(3), pp.331–345.


Week 4 – Normative Standards for Evaluating Media and Citizen Performance

Required Reading:

Althaus, S.L. 2012. What’s good and bad in political communication research? Normative standards for evaluating media and citizen performance In: H. A. Semetko and M. Scammell, eds. Sage handbook of political communication. London: Sage, pp.97–112.    Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva 

Rinke, E.M. 2016. Mediated deliberation In: G. Mazzoleni, K. G. Barnhurst, K. Ikeda, R. C. M. Maia and H. Wessler, eds. The international encyclopedia of political communication [Online]. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, pp.813–826. [Accessed 9 January 2016]. Available from: 

Further Reading:

Blumler, J.G. and Cushion, S. 2014. Normative perspectives on journalism studies: Stock-taking and future directions. Journalism. 15(3), pp.259–272.

Hänska, M. 2019. Normative analysis in the communications field: Why we should distinguish communicative means and ends of justice. Journal of Information Policy. 9, pp.14–36.

Wessler, H. 2008. Investigating deliberativeness comparatively. Political Communication. 25(1), pp.1–22.


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Week 5 – Newspapers and Magazines

Required Reading:

Entman, R.M. 2010. Improving newspapers’ economic prospects by augmenting their contributions to democracy. International Journal of Press/Politics. 15(1), pp.104–125.  

Maia, R.C.M. 2009. Mediated deliberation: The 2005 referendum for banning firearm sales in Brazil. International Journal of Press/Politics. 14(3), pp.313–334.  

Further Reading:

Baker, C.E. 2002. Not toasters: The special nature of media products In: Media, markets, and democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp.7–19.

Habermas, J. 2009. Media, markets and consumers: The quality press as the backbone of the public sphere In: Europe: The faltering project. Cambridge: Polity, pp.131–137.    

Habermas, J. 1989. The structural transformation of the public sphere. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Maia, R.C.M. 2012. Deliberation, the media and political talk. New York: Hampton Press.


Week 6 – TV News, Talk Shows & Op-eds

Required Reading:

Jacobs, R.N. and Townsley, E. 2011. The space of opinion: Media intellectuals and the public sphere. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Ch. 4: Who Speaks in the Space of Opinion? (pp. 76-108)] 

Rinke, E.M. 2016. The impact of sound-bite journalism on public argument. Journal of Communication. 66(4), pp.625–645.  

Wessler, H. and Rinke, E.M. 2014. Deliberative performance of television news in three types of democracy: Insights from the United States, Germany, and Russia. Journal of Communication. 64(5), pp.827–851.  

Further Reading:

Benson, R. 2013. Shaping immigration news: A French-American comparison. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Matthews, J. and Cottle, S. 2012. Television news ecology in the United Kingdom: A study of communicative architecture, its production and meanings. Television & New Media. 13(2), pp.103–123.

Muddiman, A. and Meier, M.R. 2013. Deliberative television: Encouraging substantive, citizen-driven news. Journal of Public Deliberation. 9(2).


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Week 7 – Video and Images: YouTube etc.

Required Reading:

Bowyer, B.T., Kahne, J.E. and Middaugh, E. 2017. Youth comprehension of political messages in YouTube videos. New Media & Society. 19(4), pp.522–541.  

Fisher, M. and Taub, A. 2019. How YouTube radicalized Brazil. New York Times. [Online]. [Accessed 3 September 2019]. Available from: 

van Zoonen, L., Vis, F. and Mihelj, S. 2011. YouTube interactions between agonism, antagonism and dialogue: Video responses to the anti-Islam film Fitna. New Media & Society. 13(8), pp.1283–1300.  

Further Reading:

Fletcher, R. and Nielsen, R.K. 2018. Are people incidentally exposed to news on social media? A comparative analysis. New Media & Society. 20(7), pp.2450–2468.

Maia, R.C.M. and Rezende, T.A.S. 2016. Respect and disrespect in deliberation across the networked media environment: Examining multiple paths of political talk. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. 21(2), pp.121–139.


Week 8 – Long-Form User-Generated Text: Blogs etc.

Required Reading:

Harcup, T. 2016. Alternative journalism as monitorial citizenship? A case study of a local news blog. Digital Journalism. 4(5), pp.639–657.   Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva 

Xenos, M. 2008. New mediated deliberation: Blog and press coverage of the Alito nomination. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. 13(2), pp.485–503.  

Further Reading:

Brundidge, J., Reid, S.A., Choi, S. and Muddiman, A. 2014. The “deliberative digital divide:” Opinion leadership and integrative complexity in the U.S. political blogosphere. Political Psychology. 35(6), pp.741–755.

Hargittai, E., Gallo, J. and Kane, M. 2008. Cross-ideological discussions among conservative and liberal bloggers. Public Choice. 134(1–2), pp.67–86.

el-Nawawy, M. and Khamis, S. 2014. Blogging against violations of human rights in Egypt: An analysis of five political blogs. International Journal of Communication. 8, pp.962–982.


Week 9 – Social Networks: Facebook etc.

Required Reading:

Kim, Y.M., Hsu, J., Neiman, D., Kou, C., Bankston, L., Kim, S.Y., Heinrich, R., Baragwanath, R. and Raskutti, G. 2018. The stealth media? Groups and targets behind divisive issue campaigns on Facebook. Political Communication. 35(4), pp.515–541.  

Kreiss, D. and McGregor, S.C. 2018. Technology firms shape political communication: The work of Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, and Google with campaigns during the 2016 U.S. presidential cycle. Political Communication. 35(2), pp.155–177.  

Further Reading:

Ben-David, A. and Soffer, O. 2019. User comments across platforms and journalistic genres. Information, Communication & Society. 22(12), pp.1810–1829.

Margetts, H. 2019. Rethinking democracy with social media. Political Quarterly. 90(S1), pp.107–123.

Siegel, D.A. 2013. Social networks and the mass media. American Political Science Review. 107(4), pp.786–805.


Week 10 – Microblogs: Twitter etc.

Required Reading:

Bosch, T. 2017. Twitter activism and youth in South Africa: The case of #RhodesMustFall. Information, Communication & Society. 20(2), pp.221–232.  

Robertson, C.T., Dutton, W.H., Ackland, R. and Peng, T.-Q. 2019. The democratic role of social media in political debates: The use of Twitter in the first televised US presidential debate of 2016. Journal of Information Technology & Politics. 16(2), pp.105–118.  

Further Reading:

Lorenz-Spreen, P., Mønsted, B.M., Hövel, P. and Lehmann, S. 2019. Accelerating dynamics of collective attention. Nature Communications. 10(1), p.1759.

Penney, J. and Dadas, C. 2014. (Re)Tweeting in the service of protest: Digital composition and circulation in the Occupy Wall Street movement. New Media & Society. 16(1), pp.74–90.


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Week 11 – Rethinking Approaches to Media and Democracy

Required Reading:

Bennett, W.L. and Pfetsch, B. 2018. Rethinking political communication in a time of disrupted public spheres. Journal of Communication. 68(2), pp.243–253.  

Nielsen, R.K. 2018. No one cares what we know: Three responses to the irrelevance of political communication research. Political Communication. 35(1), pp.145–149.  

Further Reading:

Aelst, P.V., Strömbäck, J., Aalberg, T., Esser, F., Vreese, C. de, Matthes, J., Hopmann, D., Salgado, S., Hubé, N., Stępińska, A., Papathanassopoulos, S., Berganza, R., Legnante, G., Reinemann, C., Sheafer, T. and Stanyer, J. 2017. Political communication in a high-choice media environment: A challenge for democracy? Annals of the International Communication Association. 41(1), pp.3–27.

Hefner, D., Rinke, E.M. and Schneider, F.M. 2018. The POPC citizen: Political information in the fourth age of political communication In: P. Vorderer, D. Hefner, L. Reinecke and C. Klimmt, eds. Permanently online, permanently connected: Living and communicating in a POPC world. New York: Routledge, pp.199–207.

This list was last updated on 03/10/2019