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Semester 1

Contemporary Issues in Political Science (PLIT10104)







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Visiting students must have completed 4 Politics courses at grade B or above. We will only consider University/College level courses, and we cannot consider interdisciplinary courses or courses without sufficient Politics/Government/International Relations focus. Applicants should note that, as with other popular courses, meeting the minimum does NOT guarantee admission, and priority will be given to students studying on exchange within the Politics department. **Please note that all Politics courses are very high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces.** Visiting students are advised to bear in mind that enrolment in specific courses can never be guaranteed, and you may need to be flexible in finding alternatives in case your preferred courses have no available space. These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.

Course Summary

Contemporary Issues in Political Science takes a recent topic one emerging in the news or in the academic literature, and provides students with the tools to situate it within the larger academic literature, the political context and methods of analysis.

Course Description

The substantive content of this course changes each year depending on topical issues and will be taught by experts on the issue itself or on particular approaches/methods from amongst permanent and postdoctoral staff. Students will learn substantive information about the topic itself but perhaps more importantly they will acquire the generic skills to analyse any phenomenon: how to place it within a larger context, where to look for information about context, the types of variables (whether social, economic, cultural, or political) to consider when analysing the phenomenon, how to identify wider theories and concepts to analyse the phenomenon and how to acquire evidence that would support one theoretical interpretation over another. 2022-23 Topic - Media and Politics This course explores the complex, and rapidly changing relationship between different kinds of media and different kinds of political activity around the world. As such, it focuses upon the complex relationship between mainstream and social media, formal and informal politics. Students will be introduced to many of the 'classic' concerns discussed in political communication, including information flow, censorship and surveillance; the role of the media within deliberation, voting and policy-making processes; as well as the ways in which media shapes relations between states, including during military conflict. However, this course goes beyond traditional 'political communication' as it does not analyse communicative acts such as political speeches, rallies and advertising campaigns. Instead, we incorporate research from informatics, journalism studies, and media and communications scholarship to address the emergence of new sorts of media actors and more fluid, informal kinds of mediated politics. We also interrogate the use of media itself, tradition and social, using a forensic, political lens: considering the effects of the political economy of different media outlets and vice versa. We look at the structuring of media labour and the emergence of new kinds of media-saturated (or mediatised) politics, including the practices of non-governmental organisations, terrorist groups, and 'trolls'. The first half of the course focuses more on the relationship between different kinds of media and politics; the second builds on this by considering the intersection of media, politics and international relations. It therefore provides students with the critical foundation they need to understand the many different roles played by the media within today's complex political environment, and the ways in which the media may behave as political actors themselves.

Assessment Information

Written Exam 0%, Coursework 100%, Practical Exam 0%

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