- "Political Communication" redirects here. For the academic journal, see Political Communication (journal).
Political communication is a sub-field of political science and communication that deals with the production, dissemination, procession and effects of information, both through media and interpersonally, within a political context. This includes the study of the media, the analysis of speeches by politicians and those that are trying to influence the political process, and formal and informal conversations among members of the public, among other aspects.
Defining the concept
The study and practice of political communication focuses on the ways and means of expression of a political nature. Robert E. Denton and Gary C. Woodward, two important contributors to the field, in Political Communication in America characterize it as the ways and intentions of message senders to influence the political environment. This includes public discussion (e.g. political speeches, news media coverage, and ordinary citizens' talk) that considers who has authority to sanction, the allocation of public resources, who has authority to make decision, as well as social meaning like what makes someone American. In their words "the crucial factor that makes communication 'political' is not the source of a message, but its content and purpose."  David L. Swanson and Dan Nimmo, also key members of this sub-discipline, define political communication as "the strategic use of communication to influence public knowledge, beliefs, and action on political matters."  They emphasize the strategic nature of political communication, highlighting the role of persuasion in political discourse. Brian McNair provides a similar definition when he writes that political communication is "purposeful communication about politics." For McNair this means that this not only covers verbal or written statements, but also visual representations such as dress, make-up, hairstyle or logo design. With other words, it also includes all those aspects that develop a "political identity" or "image".
There are many academic departments and schools around the world that specialize in political communication. These programs are housed in programs of communication, journalism and political science, among others. The study of political communication is clearly interdisciplinary.
- Denton R.E., Woodward G.C. Political Communication in America, New York: Praeger, 1998, p.11
- Swanson, D. & Nimmo D. "New Directions in Political Communication: A Resource Book." Thousand Oaks: Sage, 1990, p. 9.
- McNair B. An Introduction to Political Communication, London: Routledge, 2003, p.24
- Political Communication section at the American Political Science Association (APSA)
- Political Communication section of the International Communication Association (ICA)
- Political Communication Division of the National Communication Association (NCA)
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