Comparing Effects of Political Communication

Authored by: Rüdiger Schmitt-Beck

Handbook of Comparative Communication Research

Print publication date:  April  2012
Online publication date:  June  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415802710
eBook ISBN: 9780203149102
Adobe ISBN: 9781136514241


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The main motive behind most research into mass communications is the explicit or implicit premise that the mass media and the way they construct and convey presentations of reality have important implications for the societies in which they are embedded. In any case this is true for research into political communications. Most, if not all, studies in this field derive their principal justification from the basic premise that the media have turned into the most important source of citizens’ political experiences, and from the expectation that how the media perform their bridging role between politics and citizens has significant consequences for political cultures, structures, and processes (Graber, 2005, p. 479). Take away the last element of the famous Lasswell formula, “Who says what in which channel to whom with what effect?” (Lasswell, 1964, p. 37), and there would be little point in studying the other elements. Analyses of political media effects deal with a wide range of phenomena. This chapter concentrates on effects research—inquiries into the highly variegated ways in which media influence their audiences—which has doubtlessly attracted most scholarly interest.

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