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Modern Political Communications: Mediated Politics In Uncertain Terms

Modern Political Communications: Mediated Politics In Uncertain Terms

James Stanyer

ISBN: 978-0-745-62797-7

Sep 2007

240 pages

In Stock



Political communication systems in advanced industrial democracies are in a state of flux. The traditional political communication system, with its limited and regulated media channels, stable patterns of media consumption, and identifiable party loyalty, which characterized much of the twentieth century, is giving way to one that is less ordered and structured. This book provides an accessible and comprehensive account of how governments, political parties, established media organizations and citizen audiences, in the US and the UK, are adapting to this systemic change.

Against the background of audience fragmentation and widening social and political divisions, James Stanyer provides a critical appraisal of the evolving relationship of political communicators and their audience. He argues that such divisions influence citizen communicative engagement and are increasingly exacerbated by the strategic activities of political advocates and media organizations. Modern Political Communication is required reading for anyone who wants a fuller understanding of the transformation of political communication and the repercussions for democracy.

Preface and Acknowledgements


Modern Political Communication

Part 1: Exclusion, Intimacy and the Drive for Popularity

1 Exclusive Campaign Communication: the Hidden Costs of Data Driven Electioneering

The rise of the floating voter

Market research and the electorate

Targeted communication

The cost of campaign communication

The included and the excluded

2 Governing and the Drive for Effective Promotion

The all encompassing promotional culture

Does promotion translate into popularity?

The unpredictable nature of governing

The rise of metacoverage

Selling the removal of Saddam

3 Intimate Politicians: Mediated Visibility and the Erosion of Privacy

Mediated publicness: the rise of the recognisable politician

Intimacy: going behind the scenes

Disclosing and exposing the personal

Part 2: News and the Politics of Market Driven Media

4 News Organisations and the Audience for News

News audiences as citizens

Reconceptualising the role of news audiences in a period of uncertainty

Serving the voter?

5 The Media and the Populist Political Impulse

Political populism

Media and political populism

Talk radio: the voice of the people or channels of resentment?

The press and reactionary populism

Part 3: Communicative Disengagement and the Exercise of Political Voice

6 Turning On, Tuning Out?

A diverse but unequal citizenry

The interested and the disinterested

Consumption gaps

The vicious circle

7 The Rise of Self-Expressive Politics: Exercising Political Voice in a Digital Age

Opportunities for self-expression

‘Let us know what you think’: encouraging attitude expression

The communicating public?

The loudest and quietest voices


8 Political Communication in an Uncertain and Unequal Age



"Modern Political Communication addresses a great need in the political communication literature. While others frequently call for more scholarship that incorporates a comparative approach, this book delivers an insightful multinational analysis of political communication systems and practices. The writing is clear and clever. Perhaps the greatest strength of this volume is the author's ability to incorporate both US and European political science and communication studies. Furthermore, Stanyer possesses the unusual talent of weaving both humanistic and social scientific research into a coherent and complimentary narrative. This book deserves the attention of all who are interested in political communication."

Mitchell S. McKinney, University of Missouri

"Modern Political Communication spans the systemic and individual levels to examine how British and American politics, by focusing on market-style analysis of the citizen-audience member and the campaigner-political actor, reproduces existing inequalities and exclusions. What distinguishes the book is the broad vista James Stanyer provides of communication and politics in late modernity."

Kevin G. Barnhurst, University of Illinois at Chicago

"Across a range of different values, structures, technologies and practices “political communication” is rapidly changing, indeed quite what this term itself might now mean is open to question. One of the strengths of Stanyer’s book is his attempt to construct a broad picture of the significance and complexity of what is happening without losing focus on empirical detail."

John Corner, University of Liverpool

  • Provides an accessible and comprehensive account of the communication between political parties, citizens and media organisations
  • Works in a comparative framework, looking at modern political communication in both the United States and the United Kingdom
  • Is comprehensive in scope, clearly structured and accessibly written
  • Includes an appendix of helpful web resources
  • Based on the most-up-to-date empirical research and latest theorising in the field
  • Required reading for anyone who wants a fuller understanding of the transformation of political communication and the repercussions for democracy