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political communication

Weekly Wire: the Global Forum

Kalliope Kokolis's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

Transparency International
2012 Corruption Perceptions Index

“The 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index Measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption in 176 countries and territories around the world.”  READ MORE

Mobile for Development
The Life Stories of base of pyramid mobile users in Africa and Asia

“If you use a mobile phone, and live on Earth, you probably have a prepaid SIM and live in the developing world [1]. But what do we know of you, your needs and habits of usage? The answer is ‘not a great deal’. And it’s been ‘not a great deal’ for a great deal of time.  It was with the hope of shining a modest light into this fug of ignorance that Mobile for Development visited South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya and Sri Lanka in June 2012 to find and speak to some of the world’s poorest to uncover firsthand testimony about how they used mobile and the impact it had on their lives.”  READ MORE

For Political Communication, the Age of Nerds and Big Data is Here

Sina Odugbemi's picture

Sophisticated campaign communication (an important part of political communication) is a field both invented and dominated by American practitioners and scholars. When I ask my associates in the field why this is so, the reason they usually give me is the sheer quantity and frequency of democratic elections in the American political system. Therefore, they point out, human and material resources have been poured into the science and the art of winning election campaigns.  What is important for our purposes is that  the practices of American political communicators tend to spread worldwide... like much else in American culture. Politicians in newly democratizing polities have for decades now invited American political consultants to help them run and win elections. Local specialists have also mushroomed, many of them trained by the American universities who offer amazingly good degrees in communication, particularly political communication. If you are interested in campaign communication as a global phenomenon, a good place to start is Fritz Plasser's Global Political Campaigning: A Worldwide Analysis of Campaign Professionals and Their Practices (2002).

My bet is that at least two aspects of the recently concluded presidential election campaign in the United States -- a spectacular showcase of political communication at work -- will prove influential globally. President Obama was re-elected and it was a big win, but for campaign communication two methods won big victories of their own and they are likely to be flattered with imitation worldwide. They are as follows:

Bring in the Clowns: Humor in Political Communication

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

Late one night in the capitol city a mugger wearing a ski mask jumped into the path of a well-dressed man and stuck a gun in his ribs. "Give me your money!" he demanded. Indignant, the affluent man replied, "You can't do this - I'm a Member of Parliament!" "In that case," replied the robber, "give me MY money!"

Sometimes all you can do when you hear the latest news from the political stages all over the world is – laugh. Actually, laughing is a good thing in politics. Humor has become a major vehicle for political information. Political commentary in late night shows and political comedy have become an important part of political communication. Humor helps to transmit information and messages in a way that dry news formats probably can’t do.

Media Effects III: Framing - "Melting Ice Caps or No More Ice Age?"

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

After introducing agenda setting and priming, I want to complete the "holy trinity of media effects" with a short introduction of framing, which I consider to be the most important effect of this threesome. Whereas agenda setting tells us what to think about (by putting issues on the public agenda), framing tells us how and why to think about an issue. To frame means to communicate in a way that leads audiences to see something in a certain light or from a particular perspective. Aspects that are not included in the frame do not come to the audience's attention. Framing determines where the audience puts its attention. Effective framing taps into preexisting beliefs, attitudes, and opinions; it highlights certain aspects of an issue over other aspects.

Introducing our Technical Briefs

Sina Odugbemi's picture

As many readers will know, CommGAP has developed a couple of training courses. We now run these courses in partnership with the World Bank Institute. A few years ago, we began to commission technical briefs on various aspects of communication and governance for use in the training courses. They are quick, hopefully accessible introductions to various key topics in communication, especially political communication. Each brief was written by an expert in the field although we have not attached the names of the writers, these being our corporate products. We have decided to share these briefs more broadly. Please feel free use them as appropriate. We would appreciate comments on them as well.

The Art of Inquiry: Political Communication for the Holidays

Antonio Lambino's picture

It’s that time of year when people in many parts of the world are celebrating the holiday season.   Social calendars are full and gatherings with family, friends, and loved ones are in full swing.  For those of us who find ourselves in this flurry of social activity, what might the study of political communication have to offer?

It is a truism that we are not to talk religion or politics at the dinner table or gatherings of close-knit family and friends.  Findings from the study of political communication back this up.  As Diana Mutz (2006) poignantly discloses in her award-winning book entitled Hearing the Other Side: Deliberative versus Participatory Democracy,

Stairway to Mobilization

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

The ultimate goal for working on the demand side from a political communication perspective is the mobilization of the public. We want to drive citizens who lack information and efficacy to being an active public, participating as relevant actors in the public sphere and in thereby in political decision making processes. Here at CommGAP, we base our approach on a range of literature from the study of public opinion and social movements and came up with what we call the "Stairway to Mobilization." In the coming days and weeks we will try to illustrate this concept with practical examples and case studies, but for now lets discuss the theoretical background.

How Protests Become Important

Sina Odugbemi's picture

Protests are erupting in many parts of the world. Television screens are filled with images of restive citizens challenging power. Now, a debate has erupted on-line regarding whether or not the protests of today matter as well as the fabled efforts of movements past - Gandhi in India, King in the United States and so on.

Quote of the Week

Antonio Lambino's picture

"Research on political participation has identified a number of deep-seated norms and values that are positively associated with the amount and quality of democratic engagement.  One of the most central of these is political efficacy, or the sense that one's participation can actually make a difference (internal efficacy) and that the political system would be responsive to this participation (external efficacy)... Although political efficacy is affected by a number of demographic, contextual, and cultural factors, the media plays an important role in its formation and expression."   

                                              Michael X. Delli Carpini (2004)*

Photo credit: Jim Roese photography

*Delli Carpini, M. X. (2004). Mediating Democratic Engagement: The Impact of Communications on Citizens' Involvement in Political and Civic Life. In L. L. Kaid (Ed.), Handbook of Political Communication Research (pp. 395-434). New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Letting Daylight in on 'Magic'

Sina Odugbemi's picture

The presidential election campaign in the United States is suffocating. You can't escape it anywhere, even when on vacation outside the US. Everyone is absorbed in it, I find. They want to talk about it; they want to watch CNN coverage of it nonstop. Now, for the issues we discuss in this blog the campaign is a good thing, but it is also a bad thing.

The presidential campaign is a good thing because it showcases some of the dynamics that we seek to draw attention to here. First, it shows the importance of public opinion in governance. In a sense, the entire campaign can be seen as an attempt to shape public opinion in rival directions by two well-funded campaigns.


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