1st Edition

Computational Political Communication Theory, Applications, and Interdisciplinary Challenges

Edited By Yannis Theocharis, Andreas Jungherr Copyright 2025
    210 Pages
    by Routledge

    The challenge of disentangling political communication processes and their effects has grown with the complexity of the new political information environment. But so have scientists’ toolsets and capacities to better study and understand them. This edited volume focuses on the use of Computational Communication Science (CCS) to address key questions in political communication, highlighting methodological innovations and the theoretical, practical, and institutional challenges in the field. Topics include clickbaiting, propaganda, political polarization, and media framing.

    The book starts by mapping the challenges and opportunities of data collection and analysis, focusing on computational methods to address theory-driven questions in political communication. Chapters highlight the theoretical, empirical, and institutional aspects of Computational Communication Science (CCS) relevant to the field, assessing the challenges of data requirements, digital signal semantics, and the crucial role of infrastructures, academic institutions, ethics, and training in computational methods. Considering all of these aspects, individual chapters showcase methodological innovations, applying CCS to topics like clickbaiting in the context of propaganda in authoritarian regimes, the visual content produced by political elites, political and affective polarization, and the media coverage of public policy as well as framing in the news media. The volume also offers scholarly contributions on the theoretical, practical, and institutional significance of CCS and the challenges in realizing its potential in political communication.

    A significant contribution to the field of political communication, this volume will be a key resource for scholars and researchers of communication studies, politics, media studies and sociology. It was originally published in Political Communication.

    Introduction: Computational Social Science and the Study of Political Communication
    Yannis Theocharis and Andreas Jungherr


    1. Capturing Clicks: How the Chinese Government Uses Clickbait to Compete for Visibility
    Yingdan Lu and Jennifer Pan


    2. Politicians’ Self-depiction and Their News Portrayal: Evidence from 28 Countries Using Visual Computational Analysis
    Mario Haim and Marc Jungblut


    3. Facing the Electorate: Computational Approaches to the Study of Nonverbal Communication and Voter Impression Formation
    Constantine Boussalis and Travis G. Coan


    4. Political Polarization on the Digital Sphere: A Cross-platform, Over-time Analysis of Interactional, Positional, and Affective Polarization on Social Media
    Moran Yarchi, Christian Baden, and Neta Kligler-Vilenchik


    5. Dictionaries, Supervised Learning, and Media Coverage of Public Policy
    Lindsay Dun, Stuart Soroka, and Christopher Wlezien


    6. Computational Identification of Media Frames: Strengths, Weaknesses, and Opportunities
    Tom Nicholls and Pepper D. Culpepper


    7. Advancing Interdisciplinary Work in Computational Communication Science
    Leah Cathryn Windsor


    8. The Trouble with Sharing Your Privates: Pursuing Ethical Open Science and Collaborative Research across National Jurisdictions Using Sensitive Data
    Wouter Van Atteveldt, Scott Althaus, and Hartmut Wessler



    Yannis Theocharis holds the Chair of Digital Governance at the Technical University of Munich. His research interests are in political behavior, political communication, harmful speech and content moderation and computational social science. He is a core member of the Munich Data Science Institute and director of the Content Moderation Lab at the TUM Think Tank.

    Andreas Jungherr holds the Chair for Political Science, especially Digital Transformation at the University of Bamberg. His research interests include the effects of digital technology on society, political communication, and computational social science. He is the author of Retooling Politics: How Digital Media is Shaping Democracy (with Gonzalo Rivero and Daniel Gayo-Avello, 2020) and Digital Transformations of the Public Arena (with Ralph Schroeder, 2022).