1st Edition

Political Communication Online Structures, Functions, and Challenges

By Ognyan Seizov Copyright 2014
    160 Pages
    by Routledge

    174 Pages
    by Routledge

    The impact of the Internet on political communication has been significant and multifaceted: it expanded the reach of political messages; opened the floodgates of decontextualization and intercultural misunderstanding; made room for new genres and forms; and allowed for the incorporation of every previously existing communication mode into complex multilayered documents.

    Political Communication Online places these developments in their social and media context, covers various disciplinary backgrounds and how they can contribute to a common understanding of the evolving online media landscape, and proposes a novel methodological tool for the analysis of political communication online. Seizov offers an approach that places context at the core of the theoretical and methodological discussion by discussing the traits of online communication that make it a unique communication environment. The book then brings together different disciplines which have important contributions for the study of political communication online but have not been integrated for this purpose so far, such as visual communication, multimodal research, and cognitive psychology. Seizov introduces the book’s main theoretical and methodological contribution to multimodal document analysis, the annotation scheme "Imagery and Communication in Online Narratives" (ICON), and explores how the ICON approach works in practice. Taking four distinct genres of online political communication – news, election campaigns, NGOs, and social movements – the book presents the analyses of convenience samples from each of them in detail.

    This text features a comprehensive theoretical discussion of vital current developments in online political communication, places these developments in context, and couples that with a practical demonstration of the novel methodology it proposes.

    1. Political communication online: A field in flux. 2. ICON: A visual approach to multimodality in political communication. 3. Investigating political communication online: Analytical levels and procedures. 4. Political communication online at a multimodal glance: General trends and characteristics. 5. News and campaigns: Findings from two traditional genres of political communication. 6. NGOs and social movements: Political communication with social origins. 7. Moving forward: Evolving genres and future research directions in political communication online.


    Dr. Ognyan Seizov is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Department of Linguistics and Literary Sciences, University of Bremen, Germany. His research interests are political communication and multimodal argumentation and persuasion with a special emphasis on the different approaches professionals and prosumers take to multimodal rhetoric and document design in the online context. He is the principal investigator of the research project ‘Multimodal Production and Reception Online’ (2014 – 2016) funded by the University of Bremen through the Excellence Initiative of the German Science Foundation (DFG), and he was most recently a Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow in Comparative Media Studies / Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

    "This exploratory work proposes a multi-modal method – a fusion of prior approaches informed by linguistics, visual communication, and other disciplines -- for descriptive online content analysis. Simultaneously capturing visual and textual elements (and the relationships between them) is a promising development."

    —Patrick Meirick, University of Oklahoma

    "Provides an interesting and comprehensive exploration of political communication as it evolves in concert with advances in communication technologies. This is an excellent volume for scholars interested in keeping apace of the current state and possible future of global political communication."

    —Brian Houston, University of Missouri