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Political communication

Politics is to a large extent communicated and articulated through different media channels. Politicians are evaluated on the basis of their actions in public settings, and political scandals occur with increasing frequency. In election campaigns, citizens primarily encounter the parties through different media channels. Internet and social media, in combination with more traditional mass media, have become increasingly important arenas for political processes. The speed of the communication exchange and the possibilities of interactivity have created new resources as well as challenges for politicians, citizens and journalists.

The research on political communication at JMG takes as its starting point the question of how politics are communicated, and how this affects power and democracy. Our research is concerned with how political communication is organized and constructed in the context of social, discursive and mediated practices. Researchers at JMG are studying politicians and societal elites as well as the political participation of ordinary citizens. Both short-term effects and long-term structural changes are considered as elements that can help explain what we see. The research at JMG has a strong empirical orientation and is marked by theoretical and methodological pluralism. Some central topics are the following:

Representation, expression, and quality

  • The agenda-setting processes of election campaigns
  • The impartiality and quality of news and their implications for citizens’ voting decisions
  • Political issues and different societal groups representation in the media

The practices, norms, and ideals of political communication

  • Party campaign strategies, political ads and political rhetoric from a contemporary and historical perspective
  • Political conversations and political language in the media
  • The interaction between journalists, politicians, and citizens in debate programs, interviews, and social media
  • Different actors’ opinions on political communication and the democratic role of journalism
  • The media and the changing forms of political involvement

Influence and significance

  • The media’s influence on voters’ knowledge and opinions in a diversified media environment, where people to an increasing extent both engage in and abstain from engaging in politics
  • Effects of the media on citizen and political agendas
  • How actors in the political system view power relations
  • The mediatization of politics
  • The media’s indirect and long-term effects on political processes and democratic mechanisms, e.g., political accountability
  • Various social institutions’ adaptation to the media logic
  • How politics is defined and the media’s role in processes of politicization and de-politicization
  • The significance of the media in political socialization and young people’s citizenship and social commitment

Political communication


Research group leaders:
Mats Ekström, Professor
Bengt Johansson, Professor
Adam Shehata, Associate professor
Jesper Strömbäck, Professor

Johanna Arnesson, Lecturer
Kent Asp, Professor
Peter Dahlgren, Doctoral student
Monika Djerf Pierre, Professor
Mathias A. Färdigh, PhD
Marie Grusell, PhD
Nicklas Håkansson, Associate professor
Tomas Odén, Associate professor
Per Oleskog Tryggvason, Doctoral student
Gustav Persson, Doctoral student
Gabriella Sandstig, PhD
Malin Sveningsson, Associate professor
Nora Theorin, Doctoral student
Orla Vigsö, Professor

Contact information and personal presentations

Page Manager: Mats Ekström|Last update: 7/10/2015

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