Politics and Social Media POLITIC4119

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course invites students to explore how social media affect political processes and the quality of democracy in domestic and international contexts. Students will examine evidence of social media's impact on deliberation, political knowledge and the public sphere. They will also study the relationship between social media, civic engagement and political participation. Students will learn about the opportunities and risks which social media create in relation to political campaigning, surveillance and extremism.


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

Mandatory Entry Requirements

Entry to Honours Politics requires a grade point average of 12 (Grade C) over Politics 2A and Politics 2B as a first attempt. 

Excluded Courses





One essay of up to 2,500 words (50%);

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

Main Assessment In: December

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable


Course Aims

The course is aimed at introducing students to research about social media's impact on political processes and the quality of democracy.

Specifically, the course will enable students to evaluate concepts and theories relating to the implications of social media for (1) deliberation and political knowledge; (2) journalism; (3) election campaigning; (4) civic engagement; (5) contentious politics and protests; (6) government control in non-democratic contexts; (7) community and identities; (8) the spread of extremism; and (9) privacy and surveillance.

The course aims to give students the skills, knowledge and confidence to develop their own well-informed arguments about the political implications of social media.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

■ Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of theoretical debates about the impact of social media on deliberation, political participation and the quality of democracy;

■ Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how governments, political parties, activists and citizens have used social media to pursue their goals, in both democratic and non-democratic contexts;

■ Critically evaluate the methods and results of qualitative and quantitative research relating to the impact of social media on diverse outcomes;

■ Use appropriate concepts, theories and examples from the research literature to describe and explain contemporary developments in politics and society;

■ Synthesize multiple sources of evidence to produce sophisticated and convincing arguments in speech and in writing.

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.