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   Course Title    Peculiarities of Sociological Understanding of Political Communication in Modern Ukraine
Lecturer    Olga Kabachna
Institution    Kharkiv National University
Country    Ukraine


I. Introduction

This course is an attempt to understand political communication in modern Ukraine on the basis of a multidisciplinary approach, which includes the main ideas of sociology, political sciences, communication theory, sociology of politics, sociology of mass communication, linguistics and so on. Most courses, which discuss problems of contemporary political communication processes concentrate, first of all, on the role of modern mass media in it, their influence on political communication, decision-making processes on the level of whole society. This course, excepting the wide-spreading point of view on mass media as one of the main actors of political communication, tries to widen the understanding of political communication agents as well as understanding of political communication system at whole. For modern Ukraine which is on the stage of democratic transformation the importance of including such actors as public (which is just forming now), authorities, political parties, movements and so on in the scheme of political communication is obvious. It can be explained by the following. First of all, such actors have specific national characteristics influencing the process of political communication in the state at whole. At second, the "transitional" character of modern processes of political communications in Ukraine experience the influence of the "soviet" model of political communication, which expresses itself very often in an unwillingness to participate in new forms and models of it and even the lack of understanding them. In such a situation the understanding of main regularities of political communicational processes at whole and peculiarities of its accomplishment in modern Ukraine are very important.

The course will present the most world-famous (important, interesting) theories of political communication, methodology of analyzing political technologies of different kinds, presenting of experiences of public dialogue forming in countries of Europe and USA, critical analyses of their results, developments of national strategy of public dialogue forming in Ukraine.

This course is developed for students of the Sociology Faculty (based on general peculiarities of the sociological understanding of reality, basic ideas of Sociology of Mass communication, Sociology of Politics, Methods of Sociological Studies and so on.). It can also be helpful (useful, interesting) for students, studying Journalism and Public Relations.

The course will include traditional lectures as well as round-tables, seminars and discussions.

Aim of the course

Providing a general understanding of peculiarities of political communication processes in modern Ukraine in comparison with main tendencies of such processes in Europe and USA. Presenting basic information about the Ukrainian political field and it's main actors, principals of relations and cooperation among them; forming the idea of the "public" in Ukraine - what are the features of it, problems of its forming, abilities of public in Ukraine to participate in public dialogue; examining Ukrainian mass media market: main characteristics, tendencies of development. Training in most general methods of political communication analysis and studies.

Course requirements

Active participation in seminar discussions, based on the required readings (25%) seminar presentations (25%) and final paper (50%) (each student is expected to prepare an essay (6-10 pages) related to the topics covered by one of the lectures).

II. Course Detail

a) Lecture Synopsis

  1. Political Communication: problems of notion Presenting the course logic, description of the main notions of the discipline. Discussing main notions of political communication in political science, media studies, sociology, economics, and cultural and gender studies. Presenting basic notions of media policy, media effects, agenda setting, discourse and representation theory in historical perspectives.
  2. Political Communication in context of political culture Defining "political communication" in the system of sociological notions such as "social culture", "political culture". Discussing notions of "political culture", present state and peculiarities of its forming in modern Ukraine. Examining of political communication as a factor of political culture forming and as a phenomenon, which demonstrate the state and quality of political communication in society.
  3. System of political communication: main actors The aim of this lecture is the development of the understanding of political communication as a system of actors: mass media, political forces such as parties, movements, organizations and so on. Examining of main principals of interaction between actors of political communication in Europe and USA. Discussion of peculiarities and mechanisms of interactions between such actors in Ukrainian state.
  4. System of political communication in Ukraine: yesterday and today Brief analysis of main tendencies in political communication in Ukraine such as the emergence of new actors, changing role of mass media, new relations between such actors will be discussed.
  5. Formal and informal political communication: how do they work together Providing basic ideas on formal and informal political communication. Presenting the notion of political communication as system of formal and informal communications, the role of each of them in the whole process, influence of each one on the process of decision-making on the level of society
  6. Formal political communication
    1. Characteristics of political field's members
      Characteristics of the political space of Ukraine. Main characteristics of political communication actors: public, authorities, parties, movements, mass media. Peculiarities of such groups in modern Ukraine, principals of their interaction.
    2. Public sphere and public dialogue: from population to public in modern Ukraine
      Discussing main questions and problems of «public» forming in Ukraine as the most active group of citizens, which have requirements, abilities and a desire to participate in the public life of the state, processes of decision making. Analysis of the present day state of public sphere, characteristics of public dialogue in Ukraine and the mechanisms of it's activisation.
    3. Mass media in political communication: new tendencies in Ukraine
      Examination of new tendencies of mass communication in Ukraine: emergence of numerous private mass media, attempts of Ukrainian mass media to enter the World communication system. Characteristics of the media-market of Ukraine. The changing role of mass media in political communication in Ukraine: new technologies and models of communication. Analysis of their effectiveness and perception among citizens.
    4. ICTs in forming public sphere: is it have sense in modern Ukraine
    5. Newest informational technologies in political communication. Internet as a public sphere. Actuality of such questions in Ukraine. Possibilities of public dialogue encouragement through the Internet.
  7. Informal political communication in Ukraine Characteristics of informal political communication. Role and influence of informal communication in forming of public opinion and political communication at whole. Peculiarities of informal political communication in Ukraine.
  8. "Leaders" in political communication: who they are? Questions of the "multi-stage" model of political communication. Which groups in Ukraine can be seen as "leaders of public opinion": perception of them by different social groups, level of trust in them in society.
  9. Political discourse: problems of notion, schemes of interpretations
    1. Main approaches to understanding discourse in modern social sciences
      Examining of main approaches to discourse in sociology, social philosophy, linguistic. Ideas of M.Foucault, Van Dijk, Searle.
    2. Discourse and social reality
      Questions of discourse and sociocultural changes. Language and ideology, symbolic violence.
    3. Political discourse as subject of sociological studies
      Political discourse: main principals of accomplishments. Main directions and methods of political discourse studies.
  10. Political communication studies: directions, methods, basic kinds of researches Brief survey of political communication studies in Europe, USA. Directions of political communication studies in Ukraine, methods, main results.

b) Seminar Synopsis

  1. Forming public dialogue in Ukraine: tendencies, technologies, problems
  2. Political advertising in modern Ukraine: methods, effectiveness, directions of studies
  3. New identities in computer mediated communication
  4. Training in methods of analyzing political discourse (content-analysis, analysis of political leaders texts, basis of motivation analysis)
  5. Developing program of sociological research and questionnaire for studying political communication processes in pre-election time

Reading List


  1. Political Communication: problems of notion

    Readings
    Gibbins, J. (ed.) (1989), Contemporary Political Culture: Politics in a Post-Modern Age, London:

    Dmitriev, A.V., Latynov, V.V. Political communication. Rostov-na-Don, 1998 (pp.12-19) (in Russian).

  2. Political Communication in context of political culture

    Readings
    Hans-Georg Heinrich and Slawomir Wiatr. Political Culture in Vienna and Warsaw. Westview Press, USA, 1991, pp. 57-64, 132-138

    Jurgen Habermas on Society and Politics /ed. by Steven Seidman. Beacon Press. Boston, 1989

  3. The system of political communication: main actors

    Readings
    Michael Gurevitch and Jay G. Blumler, 'Political Communication Systems and Democratic Values,' in Judith Lichtenberg, (ed.) Democracy and the Mass Media, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990

    Jan A.G.M. van Dijk, "Models of Democracy: Behind the Design and Use of New Media and Politics
    Seymour Martin Lipset. Political Man. The Social bases of politics. Heinemann, London, 1960. Chapter 10 'American Intellectuals: Their Politics and Status'

    Jean Cohen, "The Public Sphere, the Media and Civil Society" in Andres Saj? and Monroe E. Price (eds.) Rights of Access to the Media. The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 1

  4. System of political communication in Ukraine: yesterday and today

    Readings

    Kabachna O.V. Political Communication in Ukraine: Main Tendencies, Contradictions and Possibilities of Analysis // Visnyk of Kharkiv National University 2000 #462

  5. Formal and informal political communication: how do they work together

    Readings
    Jay G. Blumler, (1987) "Election Communication and the Democratic Political System" in David L. Paletz (ed.) Political Communication Research: Approaches, Studies, Assessments. Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing Co

  6. Formal political communication


    1. Characteristics of Ukrainian political field's members
      Readings
      Balabanova N.V. State Authorities and Society: Possibilities of Cooperation // Visnyk of Kharkiv National University 2000 #462

      Yakuba E.A., Kutsenko O.D., Hizhnyak L.M., Beznosov M.A., Evdokimova I.A. Changes in Social-class Structure of Society in the Period of Transformations. - Kharkiv: Osnova, 1997. - 230 p.
      Thomas F. Remington (1988), The Truth of Authority: Ideology and Communication in the Soviet Union. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.

      Kirienko U.V. Elective system in Ukraine: institutional and political effects // Visnyk of Kharkiv National University 1999 #433

    2. Public sphere and public dialogue: from population to public in modern Ukraine

      Readings
      Pateman, Carole (1970), Participation and Democratic Theory, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

      Sage Wilson, G. (1990), Interest Groups, Oxford: Blackwell Lipset, S. and Rokkan, S. (1967) Party Systems and Voter Allignments, New York: Free Press

      C. G. A. Bryant and E. Mokrzycki (eds.) (1995), Democracy, Civil Society and Pluralism in Comparative Perspective, IFiS Publishers

      Denis McQuail (1991), 'Mass Media in the Public Interest: Towards a Framework of Norms for Media Performance,' in Curran and Gurevitch (eds.), Mass Media and Society, London, New York: Edward Arnold,

      Jurgen Habermas on Society and Politics /ed. by Steven Seidman. Beacon Press. Boston, 1989

    3. Mass media in political communication: new tendencies in Ukraine

      Readings
      Denis McQuail (1991), 'Mass Media in the Public Interest: Towards a Framework of Norms for Media Performance,' in Curran and Gurevitch (eds.), Mass Media and Society, London, New York: Edward Arnold,

      Karen Siune and Wolfgang Truetzscher (1992), (eds. for the Euromedia Research Group) Dynamics of Media Politics: Broadcast and Electronic Media in Western Europe, London: Sage,

      Onufriychuk N. Ukraine and international informational space // Politics and time. - 1996. - #5

      V. Korol'ko. Political advertising: lessons of the elections, problems // Sociology: Theory, Methods and Marketing. 1998, No.6 (in Ukrainian)

      Mass Media in Elections: between politics and culture (content-analysis of political press)/ Ed.by. N. Kostenko - Kiev, Institute of Sociology of Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, 1999

      Jean Cohen (1996), 'The Public Sphere, the Media and Civil Society,' in Andres Saj? and Monroe Price (eds.) Rights of Access to the Media, The Hague: Kluwer Law International,

      Mark Wheiler. Politics and the Mass Media. Blackwell Publishers, 1997

      Patrick H. O'Neil, Communicating Democracy: The Media and Political Transitions. Boulder, Co.: Lynne Rienner, 1998.

    4. ICTs in forming public sphere: is it have sense in modern Ukraine
      Readings
      Mark Poster (1997), 'Cyberdemocracy: The Internet and the Public Sphere' in David Holmes (ed.) Virtual Politics: Identity and Community in Cyberspace, London, Sage,

      Eva Vajda (1998), The Internet as a Public Sphere, M.A. Thesis, Department of Political Science, CEU,

      Brian D. Loader (ed.), (1998), Cyberspace Divide: Equality, Agency and Policy in the Information Society. London: Routledge,

      John Brockman, (1996), Digerati: Encounters with the Cyber Elite. London: Orion Business Books,

  7. Informal political communication

    Readings
    Alan S. Gerber, Donald P. Green. The Effects of Canvassing, Telephone Calls, and Direct Mail on Voter Turnout: A Field Experiment. American Political Science Review. Vol. 94, No.3, September 2000

    David Deacon, Wendy Monk. Quandos and the "Communications Dependent Society". European Journal of Communication Vol.16, No 1, March 2001, Sage publications

  8. "Leaders" in political communication: who they are?

    Readings
    'The 1960s: The Heroic Age of Soviet Intellectuals'. In Vl. Shlapentokh. Soviet Intellectuals and Political Power. The post-Stalin Era. I.B. Tauris&Co Ltd. Publishers. London. New York, 1990

    John Brockman, (1996), Digerati: Encounters with the Cyber Elite. London: Orion Business Books,

  9. Political discourse: problems of notion, schemes of interpretations


    1. Main approaches to understanding discourse in modern social sciences
      Readings
      Sara Mills (1997), Discourse. Routledge, London,

      Searle, J. (1995). The Construction of Social Reality. New York, Free Press.

    2. Discourse and social reality
      Readings
      Roger Fowler (1991). Language and representation. in «Language in the news». Clays Ltd, England

      Pamela E. Oliver, Gregory M. Maney. Political Processes and Local Newspaper Coverage of Protest Events: From Selection Bias to Triadic Interactions. American Journal of Sociology. Vol. 106, No 2, September 2000, The University of Chicago Press

    3. Political discourse as subject of sociological studies
      Readings
      B. J. Bullert, (1997), Public Television: Politics and the Battle over Documentary Film, New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

      Van Dijk, T. A. (1988). News as Discourse. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum

      Norman Fairclough (1998). Critical discourse analysis: the critical study of language. Longman. - London and New York

      John B. Thompson (1984). Studies in the Theory of Ideology. Polity Press. Cambridge,

      Kovalchuk E.P., Ryabinskaya N.S. Experience of application content-analysis in studying newspapers before presidential elections // Visnyk of Kharkiv National University 1999 #433

      Soroka Y. G. Discourse of "power" on local TV // Visnyk of Kharkiv National University 1999 #433

  10. Political communication studies: directions, methods, basic kinds of researches

    Readings

    McQual, D. & Windhal, S. (1993). Communication Models for the Study of Mass Communication. 2nd Edition. Longman,.

    Foucault on Modern Power: Empirical Insights and Normative Confusions. in Nancy Fraser. Unruly Practices. Power, Discourse and Gender in Contemporary Social Theory. University of Minnesota Press, USA, 1989

    Herbert J. Gans, (1980) Deciding What's News: A Study of CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News Newsweek and Time New York: Vintage Books

    Kees Brants, Karen Siune (1998), 'Politization in Decline?' In Media Policy. Convergence, Concentration &Commerce /ed. by Denis McQuail, Karen Siune, Cromwell Press Ltd., Thowbridge, Wiltshire,

    Jay G. Blumer, Michael Gurevitch (1988), The Political Effects of Mass Communication. In Culture, Society and the media /ed. by M. Gurevitch, Tony Bennett, James Curran and Janet Woolacott; Routledge, London

    Scott. R. Olson (1995), New Democratic Vistas: Demassification and the Polish Media. In Communication in Eastern Europe. The role of history, culture and media in contemporary conflicts. /ed. by Fred L. Casmir, Lawrence Erlbaum associates, publishers, New Jersey,

    Peter Clarke and Eric Fredin (1980), Newspapers, Television and Political Reasoning. In Mass Communication Review Yearbook /ed. G. Cleveland Wilhoit. Sage Publications, London,


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