The Interaction Between Media, Political Systems and Society

Seminar on Political Communication

 

A deeper exploration of a series of websites under the magnifying glass of political communication: this was the conducting thread of the research Seminar, leaded by prof. Daniela Ropelato, for second year students of the IUS who are in the political science track. 

The work, ending this past January, consisted in the analysis of a website, chosen amongst the many that could interest students-surfers, in which the exchange and content of public interest, between media, political systems and voting citizens, stands out in a particular way.

 

As is known, the relationship between the political and communication systems is one  of the factors that most marks the life of our democracies, which find in the media the crucial factor for consolidation. The Seminar was planned to especially deal with the Web and its public space, and to equip the participants to recognize communication strategies and the effects of new media on participation and voters, more recent phenomenon such as the use of social networking in actions of protest of the “Arab Spring” and the indignados, but also less recent ones, such as the “spiral of silence”: in substance, its critical and potential power. 

 

During the three months, “surfing” in the classroom, each time under the control of a student, brought up very different websites, giving us the chance to get to know political parties and institutions – in Belgium as in Slovakia – and movements and civil society organizations – in Brazil as in Jordan – as well as cultural agencies and citizen experiences – in Thailand as in Bolivia.  

 

“Every session highlights tools and techniques, not only under the profile of information, but also for an effective participation to the processes in development, decision-making and assessment of political events,” so stated Daniela Ropelato.

Its needless to mention the grassroots movements that the Web witnessed grow in the USA during the last presidential campaigns. But also in other places, civil society has found on the web an accelerator to acquire more visibility and political clout, by introducing new challenges and resources: parties, movements and social groups.

 

One of the cases in point, for example, is a young party in Slovakia, which in a matter of 15 months managed to become accepted in Parliament as a third political pole in the nation, also through a strong Internet campaign that favour a real exchange between political leaders and voters. "It is now clearer for me the importance of communication tools for an effective democratic process that impacts society,” underlined  Daniel Beniamino, a Brazilian student that comes from a strong experience of working for a widespread social movement.

 

With the seminar on political communication, Sophia is opening up to analysis in a new sector that is increasingly relevant for qualifying political participation and to promote and support an open and free society.

 

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