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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Politics

Undergraduate Course: Contemporary Issues in Political Science (PLIT10104)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryContemporary Issues in Political Science takes a recent topic one emerging in the news or in the academic literature, and provides students with the tools to situate it within the larger academic literature, the political context and methods of analysis.
Course description The substantive content of this course changes each year depending on topical issues and will be taught by experts on the issue itself or on particular approaches/methods from amongst permanent and postdoctoral staff. Students will learn substantive information about the topic itself but perhaps more importantly they will acquire the generic skills to analyse any phenomenon: how to place it within a larger context, where to look for information about context, the types of variables (whether social, economic, cultural, or political) to consider when analysing the phenomenon, how to identify wider theories and concepts to analyse the phenomenon and how to acquire evidence that would support one theoretical interpretation over another.

2022-23 Topic - Media and Politics

This course explores the complex, and rapidly changing relationship between different kinds of media and different kinds of political activity around the world. As such, it focuses upon the complex relationship between mainstream and social media, formal and informal politics. Students will be introduced to many of the 'classic' concerns discussed in political communication, including information flow, censorship and surveillance; the role of the media within deliberation, voting and policy-making processes; as well as the ways in which media shapes relations between states, including during military conflict.

However, this course goes beyond traditional 'political communication' as it does not analyse communicative acts such as political speeches, rallies and advertising campaigns. Instead, we incorporate research from informatics, journalism studies, and media and communications scholarship to address the emergence of new sorts of media actors and more fluid, informal kinds of mediated politics. We also interrogate the use of media itself, tradition and social, using a forensic, political lens: considering the effects of the political economy of different media outlets and vice versa. We look at the structuring of media labour and the emergence of new kinds of media-saturated (or mediatised) politics, including the practices of non-governmental organisations, terrorist groups, and 'trolls'.

The first half of the course focuses more on the relationship between different kinds of media and politics; the second builds on this by considering the intersection of media, politics and international relations. It therefore provides advanced UG students with the critical foundation they need to understand the many different roles played by the media within today's complex political environment, and the ways in which the media may behave as political actors themselves.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements This course is only available to honours students on a Politics or International Relations (including joint honours) degree programme.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 4 Politics/International Relations courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.
** as numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Office directly for admission to this course **
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2022/23, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  45
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) The course will be assessed by:

Research Paper (Personality Profile): 60%
Short Paper (Article Evaluation Paper): 30%
Presentation and Participation (Chapter Presentation and Lab Preparation): 10%
Feedback Students will receive written feedback on their written coursework. Feedback on their Short Paper will be designed to help improve the quality of their Research Paper. Students will be provided face-to-face feedback on their seminar participation.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate comprehensive understanding of contemporary debates on the chosen event, from both a theoretical and empirical perspective
  2. have specialist in-depth knowledge of specific areas and issues in relation to the chosen event
  3. critically engage with key explanatory theories, concepts, institutions and issues in the study of the chosen event
  4. deploy and justify the use of case studies to deepen our understanding of political science
  5. engage in critical thinking, reflection and debate for academic and non-academic consumption.
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Critical thinking and analysis
Effective written and verbal communication
Effective research and analytical skills
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Kate Wright
Tel: (0131 6)51 1480
Course secretaryMr Ethan Alexander
Tel: (0131 6)50 4001
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