Classes

Whose News? Diversity in Old and New Media (BA)

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2018

The ongoing transformation of the media landscape is accompanied by both big hopes and big fears for democratic debates. Online enthusiasts argue that networked online and social media may enable truly inclusive democratic debates, where professional news media have been criticized for privileging few, selected elite viewpoints. Inversely, critics have warned of echo-chambers, resulting in a fragmentation and polarization of debates, and a loss of quality in public discourse.

Analyzing Networked Communication (MA)

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2018

Most communication is networked, and has been long before the advent of social media. However, much of communication research conceptualizes communication primarily in an interpersonal or mass-media context. In this class, we apply a network perspective upon communication: We examine what insights arise from analyzing interactive communication within its networked context, and assess how an appraisal of audiences’ networked communication links helps us reformulate existing theories of mass communication in a networked fashion.

Global Protest Communication (MA)

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2017

Public communication as a means to mobilize support is a necessary prerequisite for any kind of political change: Both in democracies and in authoritarian systems, political innovations usually originate in social movements and groups that are distant from political power. To affect politics, these groups need to campaign in public, rally their supporters, and strategically insert their ideas into the political debate. This course investigates both the opportunity structures that shape the possibilities for political activism, and the strategies and tactics used in communicating protest.

Propaganda Revisited: Political persuasion in social conflicts (MA)

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2017

Conflictual public debates live from the competition of plural actors over ideas and arguments. In their efforts to rally support for their specific positions, each actor employs a wide range of persuasive strategies. However, some forms of political persuasion cross the line between legitimate democratic debate and propaganda: Exploiting their communication power, as well as certain cultural, sociological and cognitive biases, they try to overpower competing claims and establish a monopoly on defining the situation.

Propaganda! Origins & Developments (BA)

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2017

Conflicts and wars are not won on the battle field alone: Also the public struggle over the prerogative of interpretation plays an instrumental part in determining the fate of political and violent conflict. Unlike legitimate means of political controversy, propaganda seeks to mobilize supporters, discredit and demoralize opponents by excluding the possibility of legitimate dissent, resorting to anti-pluralist strategies.