Dhavan V. Shah, Kjerstin Thorson, Chris Wells, Nam-jin Lee, and Jack McLeod
The chapter examines the extant literature on political socialization, focusing on the role of communication in this process. Reviewing a wide range of approaches to socialization—from those stressing the role the institutions that teach young people civic values and practices to those emphasizing the role of dispositions that encourage political development and learning—we highlight communication’s influence in establishing civic norms and competencies. Increasingly, digital, social, and mobile media are implicated in these dynamics. We first define core concepts such as civic norms and the various sources from which they are acquired, communication competence and the challenges of navigating an increasingly complex media environment, socialization and attention to this ongoing process into adulthood, and citizenship and its changing styles and expanding boundaries. These core concepts provide the basis for considering the major points of development and dispute over political socialization.
Joseph N. Cappella, Jingwen Zhang, and Vincent Price
The rise of the Internet and social media reignites interest in collective intelligence. We frame collective intelligence as follows: (1) Simple aggregation of individual opinion is a poor substitute for reasoned opinion by collectives (i.e., deliberation) except in limited circumstances. (2) What constitutes an intelligent decision on complex matters requires approximations to the ideal of what is intelligent. There is no “gold standard” for intelligent decisions. (3) If collective deliberation is to be useful, then its outcomes must be improved decisions—in short, intelligent outcomes. (4) Deliberation can lead to more intelligent outcomes when opinion, knowledge, and judgment within a collective is diverse and this diversity is expressed. (5) The trends within emerging media toward increasingly narrow, partisan sources of information, toward selective exposure and avoidance, and toward balkanization of collectives will depress the possibilities of collective intelligence that emerging media would on their surface seem to enhance.
Creating the Hybrid Field of Political Communication: A Five-Decade-Long Evolution of the Concept of Effects
Kathleen Hall Jamieson
This chapter tracks the byways that led to the emergence of a cross-disciplinary cadre of scholars identified with the hybrid field of political communication. Concentrating on the period between the Columbia election studies of the 1940s and 1993, it telegraphs the influence of the disciplines of sociology, political science, psychology and communication on the emerging field, indicates how scholars such as Elihu Katz, Kurt and Gladys Lang, Murray Edelman, and Doris Graber seeded the intellectual ground from which the field would grow, catalogues the emergence of a concept of effects that includes such phenomena as learning, the construction of political meaning, and agenda setting, and features a study that isolated the role of communication in activating the variables from which forecasting models predict presidential election outcomes.
Patrick E. Jamieson and Dan Romer
Cultivation theory hypothesizes that over time, heavy television viewers will see the world through TV’s lens. A review of nearly 1,000 media effects articles from sixteen major journals (1993–2005) identified cultivation theory as the most frequently cited communication theory. Despite the controversies it has elicited, a meta-analysis found small but consistent effects in line with the theory. This chapter identifies six broad political effects cultivation theorists attribute to heavy viewing of television or specific genres of television content: increased fear of crime and identification of crime as a significant problem, activation of racialized perceptions, support for punitive policies and embrace of protective behaviors, identification as a political moderate, reduction in social trust and capital in adolescents, and activation of cynicism and depressed learning in political campaigns.
Normative theory extols the virtues of disagreement to democracy, but evidence to support these suppositions is somewhat mixed. This chapter reviews the empirical literature on exposure to disagreement that occurs in ordinary political conversations among citizens. After outlining conceptual distinctions and operational definitions in the literature, the main section highlights both the agreed-upon and contested findings on the consequences of disagreement, including opinion quality, political tolerance, attitudinal ambivalence, knowledge gains, polarization, and participatory outcomes. The concluding section points to unanswered questions and proposes several directions for future research on disagreement. These include exploring factors that shape receptivity to disagreement, such as individual differences, situational cues, the content of verbal exchanges, and cross-national differences in political institutions, media systems, or cultural preference for outspokenness.
Yilmaz Esmer and Thorleif Pettersson
This article attempts to define the extent to which religion influences political and voting behaviour in the contemporary world. It also tries to identify the major factors behind this influence. The article starts by looking at the secularization theory, which asserts that modernization decreases the need for and the significance of religion on both the macro and micro levels. ‘Supply-side’ theories and religion in politics are examined next.
Edmund Fong and Victoria Hattam
Contemporary scholarship on racial and ethnic politics in the United States has broadly followed three main approaches in assessing the history of race and ethnicity in the United States. We therefore map three different ways of seeing the relationship between race and ethnicity contained within Whiteness Studies, scholarship on cultural pluralism and multiculturalism, and scholarship on intersections and Intersectionality. Each locates the history of racial and ethnic difference within a larger political problematic, each attaches a different significance and valence between racial and ethnic categories, and each bears with it the particular political investments constituting its origins. By highlighting the divergent ways racial and ethnic categories are mobilized we underscore the irreducibly political nature of race and ethnicity and their ongoing generative role in American politics.
Doris A. Graber
Freedom of the press has become a popular idea throughout the world. The promise of free expression, however, is not necessarily realized when governments feel that security and stability are threatened. This chapter explains the concept of freedom of the press. The theories and assumptions about freedom of the press, balancing conflicting rights, and societal constraints are reviewed. The chapter then shows how that concept is implemented, discussing legal, political, and economic factors for evaluation. The environmental factors are compared, and the reason behind press freedom violations by governments is discussed. Questions for the future of research on freedom of the press are offered.
Thomas E. Patterson
This chapter examines the game schema in news coverage. It argues that substance is often subordinated to the competitive game, particularly during election campaigns but also in governing situations. Moreover, because journalists tend to see politics as a political game, their reporting of policy leadership and problems is often framed in game-like terms The chapter discusses the game schema in theoretical perspective and looks at research on the game schema in US presidential and congressional elections and other contexts. The research on the media effects of game schema is reviewed. The chapter closes by offering future directions for research on the game schema.
Lars H. Gulbrandsen
In recent decades, various nonstate governance programmes have emerged as vibrant new institutions seeking to ensure that environmental and social values inform market transactions. This chapter examines the role of globalization and governance gaps as precursors to the rise of sustainability certification programmes and various scholarly debates on such programmes. Extant research highlights the importance of various forms of political consumerism, including boycotts and buycotts, for the rise of sustainability certification programmes. Research also highlights, in contrast, a wider array of other factors of critical importance to the emergence and evolution of sustainability certification programmes and their full potential to govern the practices of global production, distribution, and consumption.
The “hostile media effect” occurs when opposing partisans perceive identical news coverage of a controversial issue as biased against their own side. This is a robust phenomenon, which has been empirically demonstrated in numerous experimental and observational studies across a variety of issue contexts and has been shown to have important consequences for democratic society. This chapter reviews the literature on the hostile media effect with an eye toward the theoretical explanations for it, its relationship to other psychological processes, and its broader implications for perceived public opinion, news consumption patterns, attitudes toward democratic institutions, and political discourse and participation. Particular attention is paid to how the hostile media phenomenon can help explain the public’s eroding trust in the news media and the recent polarization among news audiences. The chapter concludes with several suggestions for future research.
Journalism serves multiple democratic functions identified here as information, investigation, analysis, social empathy, public forum, mobilization, and democratic education. All help make representative democracy a better system than direct democracy and not just an attenuated direct democracy. New thinking in political theory emphasizes this and insists that the agents of representation in modern democracy are not just legislatures but a wide variety of civil society monitors of government, including of course the press, whose role in defining contemporary democracy deserves more attention in the effort to place the news media’s democratic role in perspective. Within this framework, an attempt is made to outline criteria for assessing the adequacy of the news media for serving democracy. These include not only the much studied and counted legal and political guarantees of freedom but also journalistic professionalism and values, diversity of perspectives available in the news system, and access to government information.
James T. Hamilton
This chapter explores the evidence on how media coverage generates spillovers that influence the election and actions of local politicians. If a news story influences a reader’s decisions about turning out to vote, supporting an incumbent, or selecting a particular party’s candidates, these decisions may have spillovers on other people in the community. If politicians anticipate these spillover effects when making their own choices, or if they learn new facts that cause them to change their public actions, this is another way that the media can affect local politics.
Michael Barthel and Patricia Moy
Citizens’ trust in government, a vital component of any functioning democracy, can be affected by media content, but these media effects depend on numerous factors. This chapter first illustrates the normative significance of political trust, then reviews its various conceptualizations and operationalizations. It reviews the key empirical linkages between media and political trust, focusing on differences in medium, modality, presentation formats, and mechanisms of influence. The relationship between media use and political trust is discussed in light of an evolving landscape – one in which the media are no longer centralized, content consumers also produce messages, and media and politics are inextricably linked. The chapter calls for additional research on the effects of new media and emerging political cultures on political trust.
New media have been playing an increasingly central role in American elections since they first appeared in 1992. While television remains the main source of election information for a majority of voters, digital communication platforms have become prominent. New media have triggered changes in the campaign strategies of political parties, candidates, and political organizations; reshaped election media coverage; and influenced voter engagement. This chapter examines the stages in the development of new media in elections from the use of rudimentary websites to the rise sophisticated social media. It discusses the ways in which new media differ from traditional media in terms of their form, function, and content; identifies the audiences for new election media; and examines the effects on voter interest, knowledge, engagement, and turnout. Going forward, scholars need to employ creative research methodologies to catalogue and analyze new campaign media as they emerge and develop.
Roderick P. Hart and Rebecca LaVally
This essay argues that political journalism more closely resembles a Second Legislature of debaters than a Fourth Estate of onlookers. Here, we examine the scholarly literature on political news, specifically its linguistic qualities, to assert that journalism acts as a legislature in six ways: (1) By being a vessel of accommodation, (2) by prioritizing nativist agendas, (3) by reproducing regnant power dynamics, (4) by emphasizing traditionalist values, (5) by emphasizing proletarian attitudes, and (6) by being presentistic in orientation. Journalists choose the terms of debate—words that can advantage those in power or sometimes those seeking it. If all politics is local, so essentially is news of politics, fashioned by reporters in constituents’ vernacular. Although journalism guards against disorder, giving sway to institutional priorities, it also can be a cultural bellwether, capable of farsightedness and inclusion. In describing reporters as legislators, we bestow one of the highest compliments a democracy can pay its citizens.
This article looks at the personalization of politics, starting with a careful examination of the evidence that leaders are becoming more important. The role of electronic media in personalizing politics and politicians is examined, along with institutions and political leadership. The concept ‘political priming’ is introduced, which is the process where leaders are evaluated by voters based on the leader's performance on issues considered important to the voters. The consequences of the personalization of politics and the decline of electoral participation and parties are discussed in the last portion of the article.
This article discusses certain perspectives on political participation, and highlights the cache of information on political science and politics that can be found in abstracts and political journals all over the world. The first section in this article begs the question: what have we learned? This is answered by looking at several topics related to politics, including social movements, protest politics, electronic government and the World Wide Web, and civil society. The latter half of the article is devoted to a discussion of the future visions and past achievements of political participation.
This article provides some perspectives on representation. It first studies the normative issues that can be found in representation literature, before discussing design issues and the question of why cross-sectional studies of representation have not been particularly fruitful. Longitudinal studies, thinking about politics as a system, and cross-polity analyses are discussed in the final portion of the article.
Susan E. Scarrow
This article discusses the significance of the party members to their respective political parties. It shows the lessons provided by recent research about those who join parties and what this research may most likely suggest about the future of membership-based political organizing. It views parties as membership associations and studies party members. Their participation with parties and the democratic process is studied, along with the concept of linkage. The article concludes with a section on the relationship between the decline of party membership and the obsolescence of political participation.