Dynamics of Political Communication

The traditional systems of political communication in Western democracies are being destabilized by changes in late modern society. On the one hand, the channels by which political communication comes to be are multiplying in a process that is becoming more diverse, fragmented, and complex. And on the other hand, power relations among key message providers and receivers are being rearranged, the culture of political journalism is being transformed; and conventional meanings of ‘democracy’, ‘citizenship’ and of the role of the media as democratic actors are being questioned and rethought. Fundamental questions centre on citizen participation in elections and whether vote choices and electoral outcomes reflect the underlying preferences of citizens. For example, can elections reflect the preferences of voters if parties do not mobilize voters or the media do not cover salient policy issues? From the late 1990s onwards, democratic elections have transformed into ‘twoscreen’ media events, with the Internet playing an increasingly important role in providing political information that can help voters to make meaningful distinctions between policy positions of parties and candidates. This report aims at defining a framework of analysis for
systematically examining links between media systems, party systems and voter behaviour. The report specifically focuses on the spread of Web-based political communication of nonparty actors in electoral politics, through the development of online applications, which seek to help voters to pick the party or candidate that is closet to their own policy preferences.

Download the full report: WP15_Thomas Vitiello_ESR Final Report (PDF 6,282KB)

Further details of workpackage 15.

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