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The More Things Change…The More They Stay the Same<br />Emerging Questions about Political Communication in the 21st Centu...
Of Hope, Anniversaries, and Political Communication<br />Times of hope and remembrance are times to reassess, recalibrate,...
Question #1—What?<br />What is “political communication”?<br />Is all communication “political”?<br />Not all communicatio...
Ancient Understandings<br />“Man is by nature a political animal; it is his nature to live in a state.”<br />“…for the pur...
Contemporary Focus<br />A renewed interest in political communication & mass communication emerged in the mid-20th century...
Politics<br />Politics is about people living together in communities, societies, tribes, groups.<br />Politics concerns t...
Specific Definitions<br />“‘political communication’ as one of three ‘intervening processes’ (political leadership, and gr...
Specific Definitions<br />“encompasses the construction, sending, receiving, and processing of messages that potentially h...
What Do We Study as Political Communication?<br />A review of articles published in 2010 in nine journals devoted to the p...
Communication Quarterly
Communication Studies
Journal of Communication
Political Communication
Quarterly Journal of Speech
Rhetoric & Public Affairs
Southern Communication Journal
Western Journal of Communication</li></li></ul><li>What Discourse Do We Study as Political Communication?<br />A review of...
Communication Quarterly
Communication Studies
Journal of Communication
Political Communication
Quarterly Journal of Speech
Rhetoric & Public Affairs
Southern Communication Journal
Western Journal of Communication</li></li></ul><li>How Do We Study as Political Communication?<br />A review of articles p...
Communication Quarterly
Communication Studies
Journal of Communication
Political Communication
Quarterly Journal of Speech
Rhetoric & Public Affairs
Southern Communication Journal
Western Journal of Communication</li></li></ul><li>What is Published in Political Communication?<br />
What is Published in Political Communication?<br />
What is Published in Rhetoric & Public Affairs?<br />
What is Published in Rhetoric & Public Affairs?<br />
Research Guiding Teaching<br />Themes that dominate political communication research:<br /><ul><li>Elections/campaigns
New media
Civic engagement/learning
Framing
Priming
Media bias
Agenda-setting
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Hope Seminar Slides

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Hope Seminar Slides

  1. 1. The More Things Change…The More They Stay the Same<br />Emerging Questions about Political Communication in the 21st Century<br />Trevor Parry-Giles<br />University of Maryland<br />
  2. 2. Of Hope, Anniversaries, and Political Communication<br />Times of hope and remembrance are times to reassess, recalibrate, redefine, rethink, and refine.<br />With political communication, Hope is a chance to reflect on the basics, the fundamentals of what we study and teach.<br />What? Who? When/Where? How? Why?<br />
  3. 3. Question #1—What?<br />What is “political communication”?<br />Is all communication “political”?<br />Not all communication is political communication. There may be political dimensions to all communication, but that doesn’t mean it is political communication. <br />Political communication is communication that is specifically, overtly concerned with politics.<br />
  4. 4. Ancient Understandings<br />“Man is by nature a political animal; it is his nature to live in a state.”<br />“…for the purpose of making man a political animal [nature] has endowed him along among animals with the power of reasoned speech.”—The Politics<br />“because there has been implanted in us the power to persuade each other and to make clear to each other whatever we desire, not only have we escaped the life of wild beasts, but we have come together and founded cities and made laws and invented arts; and, generally speaking, there is no institution devised by man which the power of speech has not helped us to establish.”—Antidosis<br />
  5. 5. Contemporary Focus<br />A renewed interest in political communication & mass communication emerged in the mid-20th century. <br />Concerned about effects of such communication on audiences<br />Social scientific in nature.<br />Arose from fear about the power of communication in fascist Europe and the anxiety about such communication in Soviet Russia.<br />
  6. 6. Politics<br />Politics is about people living together in communities, societies, tribes, groups.<br />Politics concerns the exercise of power, over resources and individuals, by the collectivity and by other individuals.<br />Politics defines the relationships that exist between the governors and the governed, between those who possess legitimate (and sometimes illegitimate) power in the state and those who are subjected to the exercise of that power.<br />Politics speaks to the expression of communal values, beliefs, commitments, and morals that symbolically bind people together in communities.<br />
  7. 7. Specific Definitions<br />“‘political communication’ as one of three ‘intervening processes’ (political leadership, and group structures being the other two) ‘by means of which political influences are mobilized and transmitted’ between ‘formal governmental institutions, on the one hand, and citizens voting behavior, on the other hand.’”<br />Nimmo & Sanders (quoted by Miller & McKerrow).<br />
  8. 8. Specific Definitions<br />“encompasses the construction, sending, receiving, and processing of messages that potentially have a significant direct or indirect impact on politics. The message senders or message receivers may be politicians, journalists, members of interest groups, or private, unorganized citizens.”<br />Graber<br />
  9. 9. What Do We Study as Political Communication?<br />A review of articles published in 2010 in nine journals devoted to the publication of communication scholarship:<br /><ul><li>Communication Monographs
  10. 10. Communication Quarterly
  11. 11. Communication Studies
  12. 12. Journal of Communication
  13. 13. Political Communication
  14. 14. Quarterly Journal of Speech
  15. 15. Rhetoric & Public Affairs
  16. 16. Southern Communication Journal
  17. 17. Western Journal of Communication</li></li></ul><li>What Discourse Do We Study as Political Communication?<br />A review of articles published in 2010 in nine journals devoted to the publication of communication scholarship:<br /><ul><li>Communication Monographs
  18. 18. Communication Quarterly
  19. 19. Communication Studies
  20. 20. Journal of Communication
  21. 21. Political Communication
  22. 22. Quarterly Journal of Speech
  23. 23. Rhetoric & Public Affairs
  24. 24. Southern Communication Journal
  25. 25. Western Journal of Communication</li></li></ul><li>How Do We Study as Political Communication?<br />A review of articles published in 2010 in nine journals devoted to the publication of communication scholarship:<br /><ul><li>Communication Monographs
  26. 26. Communication Quarterly
  27. 27. Communication Studies
  28. 28. Journal of Communication
  29. 29. Political Communication
  30. 30. Quarterly Journal of Speech
  31. 31. Rhetoric & Public Affairs
  32. 32. Southern Communication Journal
  33. 33. Western Journal of Communication</li></li></ul><li>What is Published in Political Communication?<br />
  34. 34. What is Published in Political Communication?<br />
  35. 35. What is Published in Rhetoric & Public Affairs?<br />
  36. 36. What is Published in Rhetoric & Public Affairs?<br />
  37. 37. Research Guiding Teaching<br />Themes that dominate political communication research:<br /><ul><li>Elections/campaigns
  38. 38. New media
  39. 39. Civic engagement/learning
  40. 40. Framing
  41. 41. Priming
  42. 42. Media bias
  43. 43. Agenda-setting
  44. 44. International politics
  45. 45. Political actors (presidents)</li></li></ul><li>What’s Missing?<br />Public policy discourse—longitudinal studies of public policy debates and discussions.<br />Issues of authorship, temporality, and polysemy (Asen)<br />Studying public policy debates changes how we see political communication. Recursivity, convergence, and fragmentation emerge as critical principles (Crozier)<br />
  46. 46. What’s Missing?<br />Analyses of non-federal, lower levels of government/politics. <br />Legal discourse—legal rhetoric, the effects of legal texts, the power of legal proceedings.<br />Non-traditional expressions of political communication—popular culture; oppositional movements; radical voices; vernacular political discussions<br />All suffer from Asen’s issues—authorship, temporality, polysemy<br />
  47. 47. Question #2—Who?<br />Who are political communicators?<br />When we study political communication, whose communication do we study?<br />When we teach political communication, who is our focus? Why do we focus on who we do?<br />
  48. 48. Who Do We Study?<br />
  49. 49. Who Don’t We Study?<br />Eight Presidents have no listed articles about them (Jackson, Van Buren, Tyler, Fillmore, Pierce, Grant, Garfield, Arthur).<br />Seven Presidents have one listed article about them (J. Adams, Monroe, W.H. Harrison, Taylor, Buchanan, Cleveland, B. Harrison).<br />
  50. 50. Have We Studied Presidents Well?Do We Teach Presidential Rhetoric Effectively?<br />Less codification, more theory (Which theories? Whose theories?)<br />See the presidency as an institution (read political science stuff)<br />Explore class, race, gender, sexual identity vis-à-vis the presidency and the presidential body<br />Explore the president/presidency in popular culture<br />
  51. 51. Other Political Leaders<br />Studies of other leaders/levels of government<br />Congress<br />State/local government<br />Cabinet members (who don’t screw up)<br />Regulatory agencies<br />NGOs<br />Authorship<br />Temporality<br />Polysemy<br />Textuality<br />
  52. 52. Should We…<br />Study and teach other voices in political communication?<br />Justify the study and teaching of other political voices? How?<br />Question the value of teaching and studying other political voices?<br />
  53. 53. Media Voices<br />Which media voices are privileged in our teaching and scholarship?<br />Why do we favor those voices? From whence derives their status/credibility?<br />What assumptions about impact, effect, ethics, credibility do those choices entail?<br />
  54. 54. Popular Culture Voices<br />
  55. 55. The West Wing as Example<br />Many studies of The West Wing, from a variety of perspectives.<br />Several scholarly books.<br />Why? Was there something about this text that merits this level of scrutiny?<br />Can we still teach this program? Is it still viable for classroom use? <br />
  56. 56. Voters, Audiences, & Tina Fey<br />Who do we study when we talk about effects—voters, audiences, citizens?<br />Why and how do we select the subjects that we do to test effects?<br />
  57. 57. Question #3—When & Where?<br />Of the political communication that we study and teach, when does it occur? When does it occur in relation to when we study and teach it?<br />What politics to we study—where does such political practice take place? What are the problems inherent in studying politics from different, international contexts.<br />
  58. 58. Americanization<br />Campaigns focused on personality and character<br />Frequency of public opinion polls<br />Use of PR consultants and political marketing<br />Television-driven media agenda<br />Professionalization of politics—candidates, consultants, media<br />
  59. 59. Studying/Teaching International PolComm<br />Nord reveals the dangers of assuming an Americanization without accounting for the differences and capacities of the international political system to offer an alternative—a “middle way.”<br />Franklin reveals the dangers of assuming a static and Americanized definition of what we call and define as political communication.<br />“The field of political communication studies the interactions between media and political systems locally, nationally, and internationally.”<br />
  60. 60. Studying/Teaching International PolComm<br />Should we bother to study international political communication? What are the imperatives that would motivate our research in this area? What constraints do we face?<br />Should we bother to teach international political communication? How do we do that? Are there particular imperatives that motivate such teaching? What are the constraints we face?<br />
  61. 61. Presentism<br />Is there a presentist bias in the ways we teach and study political communication?<br />vs.<br />
  62. 62. Harding in Birmingham<br />First time a president spoke publicly about the issue of civil rights and African-American equality since 1865.<br />Dubbed the most significant speech by a president on this subject in fifty years.<br />Provoked tremendous reactions from African-Americans and whites alike, both in the North and the South.<br />Why don’t we study this speech?<br />Should we study/teach this speech and others like it?<br />
  63. 63. Question #4—How?<br />How do we study political communication?<br />Are we too concerned with method in our critical/historical study of political communication?<br />Are we too concerned with method in our social scientific study of political communication?<br />Do we count too much? Why do we count as much as we do?<br />
  64. 64.
  65. 65. Question #5—Why?<br />Why do we study political communication? What are the purposes of our research?<br />Why do we teach political communication? <br />
  66. 66. Context<br />A “rhetorical” politics demands a commitment to context and history—a recognition that political communication does not occur in a vacuum.<br />Resistance to presentistexceptionalism that often characterizes political communication scholarship.<br />
  67. 67. Effects & Efficacy<br />Careful attention to both the attribution of effect and the measurement of the effects of political communication.<br />Voters vote the way they do (and citizens act the way they do) for many, many complicated reasons that often are not measurable or attributable to political communication.<br />Political communication must be sensitive to the proclivities of populations and subjects—and citizens.<br />
  68. 68. Ethics & Character<br />Attention to character and ethics recognizes that a rhetorical politics is often and significantly about questions of leadership and personal capacity.<br />Political communication falls prey to what McGee (1980) called a “treacherous piety” that ignores the personal for the policy, the image for the issues.<br />Political theorist Ronald Beiner notes wisely that personal judgments are significantly relevant to political ones.<br />
  69. 69. Civic Virtue<br />The sublimation of personal gain and selfish satisfaction for a greater public good is a model of civic virtue.<br />A construct that offers an ethical manifestation of political communication with an eye toward both social justice and public comportment.<br />A way to ground and enhance instruction in issues of civic engagement and governance.<br />
  70. 70. Progress<br />A rhetorical politics is progressive in a small “p” sense of hoping for and embodying progress, development, enhancement, and improvement.<br />Political communication scholarship engages with this progress through public intellectualism as well as via the progress of our scholarly and pedagogical endeavors.<br />
  71. 71. Hope<br />At the root of it all is hope—a powerful and palpable belief in a better tomorrow.<br />Performing that hope as scholars, as teachers, and as citizens enhances our achievement of a “rhetorical” politics to the betterment of our collective enterprise.<br />

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