Politics and Social Media POLITIC4119

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • 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

Short Description

This course will address the ways in which digital media pose challenges to contemporary political life, with emphasis on the use of social media by political elites and citizens (e.g., for campaigns, participation, and activism), as well as on online harms and digital threats to democracy, such as misinformation, disinformation, incivility, and polarization.


This course may not be running every year. For further information please check the Politics and International Relations Moodle pages or contact the subject directly.

Requirements of Entry

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

Excluded Courses





Essay (60%): between 2,000-2,500 words.


Project output (30%):

Project output involves group work, where students will have to work collaboratively in teams to develop a social media communication campaign and submit an analytical report for assessment. Group project will comply with the University groupwork policy.


Set exercise (10%):

Peer-Review task using Aropä- students will submit short answers to set questions in several weeks of the course and will peer-review the answers of other students.

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No

Individual reassessment will be available if students are unable to participate on the project.

Course Aims

This course aims at enabling students to evaluate the impact of digital media in society, as well as to critically assess the different ways in which it plays a disruptive role in democratic life-for political elites, citizens, and institutions. The course will cover the impact of digital media in different subfields of political communication, such as campaigns and elections, participation, political discussion, online harms, and digital threats to democracy. Additionally, students will also gain a sophisticated knowledge of the role of digital platforms and governance (e.g., the politics of platforms, algorithmic governance, and regulation). The course aims to develop a critical assessment of the democratic and societal implications of digital media in public and private life.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the debates on the disruptive role of digital media in contemporary democracies

■ Apply relevant concepts and theories to analyse the effects of social media on political attitudes and behaviour, as well as broader societal effects

■ Create empirically founded knowledge of how social media shapes key processes and activities for different actors such as political parties, social movements, news organisations, and citizens

■ Critically analyse social media communication strategies, public arguments and/or contemporary debates around the role of social media in fostering - or undermining - democratic processes and practices

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.