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Media and Politics: the Netherlands compared



Purpose: 1. To develop a better understanding of the ways in which media and politics interact, in both democratic and non-democratic societies. 2. To improve students’ understanding of, and ability to carry out, comparative research.

Content: This course examines the interaction between mass media and politics in comparative perspective, exploring normative, empirical, and theoretical questions about the character and role of mass media within varying political environments.

Using the Dutch media system as our initial case study and point of comparison, the course will first focus on theories of media systems in Western Europe and North America. We will ask questions such as: Are these theories adequate to explain the behavior of journalists and media outlets in the various systems described? What are the strengths and weaknesses of each system? Is convergence toward a single model of mass media currently underway in the West? Is such convergence desirable?

In the second part of the seminar we will turn to an exploration of the mass media in other regions—in both democratic and non-democratic environments—with an eye to developing empirical understanding of the role of the media outside of the West. Among the questions we will ask are: What are the constraints faced by journalists and media outlets in various non-democratic environments? What are the effects of the media—on politics, citizen attitudes and behavior, etc.—in these environments? Should the media play markedly different roles in democracies vs. non-democracies?

Methods of Instruction

Class sessions will be primarily discussion-based, with some short lectures.

Study Material

Hallin, Daniel C. and Paolo Mancini. 2004. Comparing Media Systems: Three Models of Media and Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hallin, Daniel C. and Paolo Mancini. 2011. Comparing Media Systems Beyond the Western World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Other journal articles and book chapters will be posted on Blackboard or on reserve at the library


Grades will be based on four components: 1. Active participation in class discussion: 20%. 2. A in-class presentation: 20%. 3. A research design: 40%. 4. Peer feedback on a rough draft of the research design: 20%.


Tuesday 4 February, 18.00-20.00 hrs in 1A11 (Faculty of Social Sciences)
Tuesday 11, 25 February and 20 May, 18.00-20.00 hrs in 1A33
Tuesday 18 February, 18.00-20.00 hrs in 5A37
Tuesday 4 March until 22 April, 18.00-20.00 hrs in 1A37
Tuesday 29 April, 18.00-20.00 hrs in 1A15
Tuesday 6 May, 18.00-20.00 hrs in SB11
Tuesday 13 May, 18.00-20.00 hrs in 5A42