MC431      Half Unit
Critical Approaches to Strategic Communications

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Lee Edwards, TW3.7.01.B


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Strategic Communications. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

This course provides an advanced understanding of theoretical knowledge in the field of media and communication as this relates to strategic communications. Topics covered include: the context, opportunities and challenges of strategic communications; structures of strategic communications, especially as these relate to  promotional culture in the context of media and communications’ advance in and across public institutions; and discourses of strategic communications, especially as these relate to soft power, framing and priming. In addition, the course introduces and interrogates the concepts and practices of branding, social marketing, risk management and reputation, and the merging of political and strategic communication, especially in digital media environments.  The course concludes by raising questions of accountability and transparency in strategic communications.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the MT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 x 1,500 word essay in the MT.

Indicative reading

Bakir, V.  Sousveillance, media and strategic political communication.  Continuum (2010); Webster, JG.  The marketplace of attention: how audiences take shape in a digital age. MIT Press (2014); Corner, J, Pels, D.  Media and the restyling of politics: consumers, celebrity and cynics.  Sage (2003);

Barnet-Weiser, S.  Authentic TM: The politics of ambivalence in a brand culture.  NYU Press (2012); Macnamara, J.  Journalism and PR: unpacking 'spin', stereotypes and media myths. Peter Lang (2014);

Bennett, LW, Entman, RM (eds).  Mediated politics - communication in the future of democracy. Cambridge University Press (2001);

Davis, A. Promotional cultures: the rise and spread of advertising, public relations, marketing and branding.  Polity (2013); Nye, J.  Soft power:the means to success in world politics.  Public Affairs (2004);

Miller, D.  A century of spin: how public relations became the cutting edge of corporate power.  Ann Arbor (2008)

Miskimmon, A, O'Loughlin, B, Roselle, L. Strategic narratives: communication power and the new world order.  Routledge (2014);


Essay (70%, 2500 words) in the LT.
Project (20%, 1000 words) and presentation (10%) in the MT.

Key facts

Department: Media & Communications

Total students 2016/17: Unavailable

Average class size 2016/17: Unavailable

Controlled access 2016/17: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills