MC419      Half Unit
Modern Campaigning Politics

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Nicholas Anstead STC. S111


This course is available on the MSc in Politics and Communication. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

Modern campaigning politics. The practice of modern political campaigns based primarily on US and UK politics and elections since 1987. The focus is practical politics. The course is taught by a series of invited guest lecturers who are experts in the field of political campaigning for political parties and NGOs. It will connect with theory taught in the MSc programme's core courses concerning media influence, elections and voting behaviour and public opinion. It will enable students to see how theory is relevant and applied to the practice of modern political campaigns in the context of the changing nature of modern global politics, the politics of disengagement and identity. It will examine core and general concepts in campaigning including political strategy and how it is developed; 'political message', and the shaping of public opinion; and election campaigning and how successful campaigns are planned and implemented. The course will link campaign-relevant theory and practice through recent case histories of illustrative campaigns/political projects.


20 hours of seminars in the LT.

Formative coursework

All students are expected to complete advance reading, prepare seminar presentations, and submit one essay of 1,500 words.

Indicative reading

Denton E. D. (Ed.) (2000) Political Communication Ethics: An Oxymoron?, Praeger Publishers;

Gould, P. (1998) The Unfinished Revolution: How the Modernisers Saved the Labour Party, Little Brown;

Morris, D. (1998) Behind the Oval Office; Getting Re-elected Against All Odds, Renaissance Books;

Negrine, R. (2006) The Political Communication Reader, Routledge;

Nimmo, D. D. (2001) Political persuaders: the techniques of modern election campaigns, Transaction Publishers;

Norris, P. & Wlezien, C. (Eds) (2005) Britain Votes 2005, Oxford University Press;

O'Shaughnessy, N. G. & Henneberg, S. (2002) The Idea of Political Marketing, Greenwood; Sanders, K. (2009) Communicating Politics in the Twenty-First Century, Palgrave;

Stanyer, J. (2007) Modern Political Communication, Polity; Stephanopoulos, G. D. (2000) All Too Human, Back Bay Books;

Stockwell, S. (2005) Political Campaign Strategy: Doing Democracy in the 21st Century, Australian Scholarly;

Swanson, D. L. & Mancini, P. (1996) Politics, Media, and Modern Democracy An International Study of Innovations in Electoral Campaigning and Their Consequences, Greenwood;

Trent, J. S. & Friedenberg, R. V. (2007) Political Campaign Communication: Principles and Practices - 6th edition, Rowman & Littlefield;

Maarek, P. and G. Wolfsfeld (2003) Political communication in a new era: a cross-national perspective. London: Routledge.


Essay (100%, 3000 words) in the ST.

Student performance results

(2011/12 - 2013/14 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 25
Merit 59.1
Pass 14.8
Fail 1.1

Teachers' comment

A guest-lecturer led course, with political communication practitioners talking about their experiences.

Students' comments

"I am very grateful for this class and the insider voice the lecturers provided. I am more confident about my future."

Key facts

Department: Media & Communications

Total students 2014/15: 25

Average class size 2014/15: 25

Controlled access 2014/15: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills