Maria Teresa Vaca-Baqueiro

Supervisor: Sonia Livingstone

Research topic: Government communication in Mexico

Communication endures governments' legitimacy and accountability by linking public policy to citizens and by promoting civic engagement. It is not however, only an administrative or civic practice meant to provide information and respond to public demands. It also has the utilitarian goal of winning elections. If, as Gunther and Mughan conclude: "In democracies, both new and old, effective communication between governors and governed is shaped more by political than by technological factors" (2000: 445), the assumption raises al least two sets of issues. One concerns the nature of these political factors, focusing especially on political elites and their relevant role, while the other is about how they do it. My research looks at the second aspect of this assumption for analyzing specific government communication tactics that relate with debates on democratic transit
ions and consolidation studies. The overall question posed is: How government communication strategies, in a country like Mexico, have changed from authoritarian to democratic regimes? In tackling this specific communication process within a broad and complex dynamic of change, my research addresses two additional key questions for identifying the causes, scope and significance of these changes: 1) In what extent the democratic transition was the detonator of these changes? 2) Have these communication processes contributed to the transition and consolidation of the new regime?