PSCI 358
Media, Politics, and Power Fall 2022
Division II
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Concerns about ‘misinformation,’ ‘fakenews,’ and ‘propaganda’ abound in discussions of politics in social media, news, entertainment and movies, and in daily conversations. Conflicting groups regularly accuse each other of being ‘duped’ by ‘biased’ sources of information on crucial issues like war, elections, sexuality, racism, and history. But is anyone immune to media influence? What is it and how might it work? And who are the groups who shape how media portray the world to us? This seminar explores such questions by investigating the political use of media in the organization of power. Readings and discussions provide a view on the past and ongoing use of media in the shaping of popular knowledge, collective actions, and public policies. We interrogate the terms ‘media,’ ‘politics,’ and ‘power.’ We study techniques to politically use media as well as research techniques to uncover political practices and relations. The course is divided into three parts. The first module engages students in readings on the economic and political situation of dominant types of media (AI, social media, news, etc.) and dominant media companies (Google, FaceBook, CNN, FOX, etc.). The second engages students with theory and methods for understanding and analyzing media contents (the stories, images, etc. that media convey). The final module introduces students to theory and methods for analyzing media relations (how a given media connects particular groups in particular ways). In the second and third modules, students develop research questions that they pair with research methods to politically analyze a chosen media channel. The course is designed to introduce students to fundamental components of social science research and critical thinking on media as a political tool.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 16
Expected: 12-16
Class#: 1997
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Participation in class discussions and activities, written reflections on readings, data gathering and analysis, two 8-10 page papers, peer review, 2 in-class presentations.
Prerequisites: None
Enrollment Preferences: Political Science majors, Science and Technology concentrators
Distributions: Division II

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