Politics & Social Media POLITIC3024

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 3 (SCQF level 9)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

The course will examine how information and communication technologies (ICTs) are used by citizens and politicians. We will ask whether new media enhance the quality of deliberation and the public sphere; we will address the relationship between new media and political knowledge; and we will examine the extent to which media engender greater civic engagement and political participation, including discussions of social movements. We will also explore how new technologies have altered news production.


This course may not be running this year. For further information please check the Politics Moodle page or contact the subject directly.

Requirements of Entry

Grade D3 in Politics 2A and Politics 2B

Excluded Courses

Politics & Social Media (POLITIC4119)




One essay/research note of between 2,000 and 2,500 words (50%);

One two hour examination in which students attempt two questions out of six (50%);

Main Assessment In: December

Course Aims

The course will examine how information and communication technologies (ICTs) are used by both citizens and elites. The course will explore whether new media can foster a more global civil society, including discussion of the role of new media in the Arab Spring and whether new media enhances or diminishes polarization. We will discuss the effect of new media on the quality of citizen's deliberation; on political knowledge, and on civic and political engagement. The course will also explore how new technologies and increased global competition have changed the way in which news content is produced.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■  Describe the central paradigms that define how ICTs may alter power relations within contemporary nation-states and examine the validity of these models in contemporary internet politics research.

■  Critically analyse the role of new media in fostering civic and political engagement. This includes the contributions of new media to the quality of the public sphere, including whether new media increase the possibilities for an ideal speech situation, or whether new media contribute to greater ideological polarization

■ Critically defend or reject the idea that the internet plays an important causal role in mobilizing citizens to participate in social movements in both authoritarian and democratic polities, including discussions of the role of ICTS in the Arab Spring.

■ Analyse the role of new media in altering news content production

■ Critique and apply the central methodologies in internet studies, including content analysis.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.