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Rhetoric and Politics in Europe


Admission requirements

This course is exclusively for students of the Minor Disinformation and Strategic Communication in Global Media.


The regional electives in block 1 and 2 focus on information dissemination and power structures in local media landscapes.

This regional elective will introduce students to the shape of the contemporary European media landscape, focusing on its use as a forum for the development of various social conflicts. Using a case-study approach, students will gain insight into the complex relationships and interdependencies between national and transnational media dynamics in Europe.

As the somewhat mangled quote by Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz goes: “war is politics by other means.” In this course, we will be considering an opposite formulation of this saying, this being the idea that European disputes in politics and culture represent a civil war by other means. Through the media expressions of various social factions, which can take such forms as state propaganda and online conspiracy theories, both new and previously existing kinds of social contradiction are being fought out. In the course, this mass media struggle will be clarified through the rhetorical and political study of several contemporary and historical examples, ranging from the May 1968 events in France to more recent movements around racism, neoliberalism, and the climate crisis. As such, we will take note of both the diversity and the unity in messaging and tactics throughout this continent’s convulsions. Special attention will be paid to the dynamics of national and transnational forces in the European media landscape.

Course objectives

Participants in this course will acquire the following:

  • An insight into the contemporary European media landscape

  • The ability to conceive of European cultural conflicts on a local, national, and international level

  • A general schema of the axes of contradiction and domination along which such conflicts can proceed, including an idea of their potential intersection

  • The ability to mark both similarities and differences in the way various contemporary European conflicts are developing, and to recontextualize and rediscover historical events in light of these developments.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar.

Assessment method

Assessment and Weighing

  • Paper (approximately 2000 words): 60%

  • Active participation in class exercises: 20%

  • Group presentation: 20%

Attendance is compulsory. Missing more than one tutorial means that students will be excluded from the tutorials. Unauthorized absence also applies to being unprepared, not participating and/or not bringing the relevant course materials to class.

End Grade

To complete the final mark, both the weighted average as well as the grade for the final paper must be >5,5.


Only for the paper can a resit opportunity be given.

Retaking a passing grade

Please consult the Course and Examination Regulations 2022 – 2023.

Exam review and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organised.

Reading list

To be announced on Brightspace.



  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Arsenaal.


All other information.