An Introduction to Political Communication: 5th Edition (Paperback) book cover

An Introduction to Political Communication

5th Edition

By Brian McNair

© 2011 – Routledge

20 pages

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About the Book

An Introduction to Political Communication introduces students to the complex relationship between politics, the media and democracy in the United Kingdom, United States and other contemporary societies. Brian McNair examines how politicians, trade unions, pressure groups, NGOs and terrorist organisations make use of the media.

Individual chapters look at political media and their effects, the work of political advertising, marketing and public relations, and the communicative practices of organizations at all levels, from grass-root campaigning through to governments and international bodies.

This fifth edition has been revised and updated to include:

  • the 2008 US presidential election, and the early years of Barack Obama’s term
  • the MPs’ expenses scandal in Britain, and the 2010 UK election campaign
  • the growing role of bloggers and online pundits such as Guido Fawkes in the political agenda setting process
  • the emergence of social media platforms such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, and their destabiising impact on the management of political crises all over the world, including the Iranian pro-reform protests of July 2009 and the Israeli atack on the anti-blockade flotilla of May 2010
  • the growing power of Wikileaks and other online information sources to challenge state control of classified information


"Written in a lucid and articulate manner, the book outlines the key themes for students. The key aspects of political communication are all included and explained in a detailed manner. There are plenty of examples to illustrate the key points." Jacqui Briggs, University of Lincoln, UK

"One of the main strengths of this book is that it is written in a highly accessible style. There is a good balance between academic theory and the more empirical discussion of recent trends in contemporary political communication. The text also provides some valuable historical background on key developments, such as the rise of TV." Paul Smith, De Montfort University, UK

Table of Contents

List of illustrations. Preface and Acknowledgements. Preface to the Fifth Edition Part 1: Politics in the Age of Mediation 1. Politics in the Age of Mediation 2. Politics, Democracy and the Media 3. The Effects of Political Communication 4. The Political Media 5. The Media as Political Actors Part 2: Communicating Politics 6. Party Political Communication I: Advertising 7. Party Political Communication II: Political Public Relations 8. Pressure-Group Politics and the Oxygen of Publicity 9. Political Communication in a Globalised World 10. Conclusion: Performance Politics and the Democratic Process. Notes. Bibliography. Index

About the Author

Brian McNair is Professor of Journalism, Media & Communication at Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia. He has authored many books and articles on political media, including Journalists in Film (2010), News and Journalism in the UK (fifth edition, 2009), Mediated Access (2003), Journalism and Democracy (2000) and The Sociology of Journalism (1998).

About the Series

Communication and Society

This series encompasses the broad field of media and cultural studies. Its main concerns are the media and the public sphere: on whether the media empower or fail to empower popular forces in society; media organizations and public policy; political communication; and the role of media entertainment, ranging from potboilers and the human interest story to rock music and TV sport.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Communication Studies
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies