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Politics, Governance and Media


Admission requirements

Only students of the MSc Public Administration can take this course.


In this course, we address the power and information triangle between politicians, civil servants and the media. In the array of branches of power, the media have secured a firm place. In this light, some scholars even speak of the mediatization of politics and administration. Besides the three actor types mentioned above, a number of additional types of actors have gained importance in our political-administrative system: strategic advisers (spin doctors) and public affairs professionals (lobbyists). Led by a number of subthemes, the seminar offers a wide and critical view of this complex. The relations between civil servants and the media and politicians and the media differ from one another. Special attention is given to the role of the media in political scandals and the image-making in the media about politicians and civil service in times of crisis. Also, the rise of social media and their significance for politics and administration will be on the program. The classes will consist of interactive lectures, class presentations and student-led discussions.
The central questions that will be addressed, are:

  • How the spheres of politics, administration and the media relate to one another?

  • Where are the tensions and how are they addressed, smoothened or exploited by the various actors?

  • How does information flow among the various actors and how are these flows used strategically by the various actors?

  • What are the implications of all this for policy making and policy implementation?

  • What are the implication of all this for the way our societies are governed?

  • What are the implications of all this for the democratic process and democratic control?

Course objectives


  • To provide students with knowledge of the most important theoretical, empirical and normative debates on the relationship between the media, politics and administration.

  • To familiarize students with topical research in the field of media, politics and administration, which brings together political science, public administration, journalism and communication studies.

  • To enhance students’ critical understanding of the potential and limits of various recent approaches to the role of the media.

  • To stimulate active class participation

  • To enhance students academic presenting and writing skills.

On completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • Discuss the key characteristics, strengths and weaknesses of the subfield of politics, administration and the media.

  • Apply theoretical concepts to concrete instances of politics and administration where there is an connection with the media.

  • Follow and understand debates on institutional, policy, democratic and legitimacy challenges in in relation to the role of the media.

  • Build, present and defend well-grounded arguments on the substance, advantages, and challenges of an increased significance of the media in the process of politics and administration.


This is the schedule

Mode of instruction

Three hours lecture per week. The course will be taught through interactive lectures and student-led discussions. Taken together, this course’s teaching methods are interactive, deal with real life situations and challenge students to deliver the best work possible.

Assessment method

Learning aim Interactive engagement with course material Assessment In-class participation, 15 % Deadline: ongoing, weeks 1 – 7
Learning aim: Individual understanding and analysis of core readings and extra material Assessment: Reflection paper, 20 %
Learning aim: Understanding of course content
Assessment 1: Final paper outline (600w), 20 % Deadline: ongoing, weeks 1 – 7
Assessment 2 Final paper (2.500w), 45 %


Blackboard site available

Reading list

  • Louw, E. (2010) The Media & Political Process, Los Angeles/London: Sage. 2nd Edition.

  • Hood, Ch (2012) The Blame Game: Spin, Bureaucracy, and Self-Preservation in Government, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press

  • Various articles (TBA) stressing the particular role of the media for civil servants, policy, and with focus on social media, crisis, etc.


Registration necessary (via USIS).

Contact information

Dr. C.F. van den Berg