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Public Sphere and Media Policy

Academic Year
Instruction in English
ECTS credits
Course type:
Elective course
1 year, 3, 4 module


Course Syllabus


The concept of the rhetorical public sphere based on dialogue was introduced by G.Hauser in relation to the democratic state. The growth of the public communication both direct and transmitted by media ends in the impossibility to distinct what is public and private. Social and political life in the contemporary world is the life of constant public communication, while the concept of public sphere is one of the keys to understand political and social changes. The dialogue considered as the basic notion associated with human consciousness: difference is an indispensable condition for dialogue, which relates to the public communication not only literally (conversation between two and more people), but, more abstract, as the exchange and competition between ideologies, actors, companies, countries. The course aims to explain the mechanisms of media influence on the knowledge and understanding of social and political processes, providing skills both for analysis of mediatized reality and for composing the strategy of communication by media relevant for political actors. The course introduces main definitions of public dialogue and related terms, forms and stages of its development, methods of analysis and estimation of discursive practices, explains the structure of discourse: the author, the audience, the subject of speech, speech effect. Students will learn to specify and structure disputing positions in public dialogue, to approach to utterance, or text, or sequence of utterances and texts as a source of implicit information by usage of relevant categories of linguistic criticism, linguo-stylistics, rhetoric, semiotics, argumentation theory. Students will also see media policy as the consequent development of verbal actions aimed to media sphere. They will understand discourse as a social speech, discourse as ideology, considering the media policy of an actor as the consequence of public utterances. The course will show the potential of linguistic analysis, revealing ways of transforming any values and ideology in media discourse.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • to show possibilities of philology in analysis and estimation of public policy, revealing the correlation between actor’s political status and influence and quality of public dialogue conducted; to use linguo-pragmatic approach to an estimation of discursive practices in public policy and linguistic foundation for political actorness; to analyze discursive practices of the influential public policy actors focusing on social interaction quality; to specify directions for improvement and development of public dialogue in terms of civil activity and interaction between civil society and authorities; to develop relevant media police for an actor.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • The acquaintance with basic notions of media sphere, public sphere, theories of discourse and speech acts
  • Skills to develop and control the public communication on the selected topic
  • To be able tp disciss policies and politicalevents professi
  • Be able to analyze the impact of media,
  • understanding of the post-truth in media discorse
  • Acknowledgement ce with the concept of reasoning
  • Skills to develop a relecommunication strategy
  • Understanding of political actorness via the discourse promoted be an acthf
  • Skills to analyze the discoursive influence
  • Skills to analyze cases of successful / unsussessful cases of the reframing the discourse
  • Skills to identify the aggression and resist it
  • Acnowledgement of the analysis of conflicts, inevtably influencing the discursive positions
  • Readiyness to participate in discoursive actiivities
  • The ability to analyse versatile public speech of a lay people in social networks
  • Skills to develop public media projects , using the unlimited resourses of social networks
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Core issues of the course: public sphere, media sphere, dialogue, ideology, discourse, public speech, public discourse, political rhetoric, speech act theory, policy reasoning. N. Chomsky, J. Searle, M. Bakhtin, J. Habermas, T. Van Dijk
  • Theory and practice of public dialogue: theoretical foundations and methods of analysis
  • Mediated or mediatized communication of the political actors
  • Argumentative turn in public policy. Public reasoning: strategies and techniques
  • How to establish the discursive influence: approaching the desired actorness
  • Methods of the reframing of the political dialogue: cases and conclusions
  • Verbal aggression in the public sphere: how to specify and resist
  • Conflict interaction and discourse of conflict. Establishing of media policy for the benefit of an actor.
  • Social networks and public policy
  • Dynamics of public dialogue: summarizing the course
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking presentation
    The exam will be taken in oral form (presentation and discussion of previously submitted essays). The exam is organized via Zoom platform. Students should join the session using the link sent by teacher the day before the exam. Student’s computer should meet the requirements: it must have camera and microphone, be able to work with Zoom. To participate in the exam student should join from the beginning of the exam, switching camera on. During the exam, it is prohibited to switch the camera off. Short-term malfunction of the connection is the pause up to 5 minutes. Long-term malfunction of connection is the pause from 5 minutes and more. In case of long-term malfunction of connection student is to retake the exam. Procedure of reexamination is the same as the procedure of the exam.
  • non-blocking essay
  • non-blocking Hometask
  • non-blocking In-class assignment
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (4 module)
    0.3 * essay + 0.2 * Hometask + 0.2 * In-class assignment + 0.3 * presentation


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Browne, H. (2018). Public Sphere. Cork, Ireland: Cork University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1806435
  • Cavazza, N. (2017). The Tone Dilemma: Comparing the Effects of Flattery and Verbal Aggression in a Political Speech. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.7FC717DE
  • Djerf-Pierre, M., & Pierre, J. (2016). Mediatised local government: social media activity and media strategies among local government officials 1989-2010. Policy & Politics, 44(1), 59–77. https://doi.org/10.1332/030557315X14434624683411
  • Dutrénit, G., & Suárez, M. (2018). Involving stakeholders in policymaking: tensions emerging from a public dialogue with knowledge-based entrepreneurs. Science & Public Policy (SPP), 45(3), 338–350. https://doi.org/10.1093/scipol/scx043
  • Fisher, Z. F., & Bollen, K. A. (2019). An Instrumental Variable Estimator for Mixed Indicators: Analytic Derivatives and Alternative Parameterizations. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsarx&AN=edsarx.1910.07393
  • Heinderyckx, F. (2015). European Public Sphere| Transnational News Media and the Elusive European Public Sphere. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.D498B183
  • Murray-Clasen, M. (2018). Normative Reframing as a Policy Process: Community Solar for Low-Income Electric Customers. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.262B8016
  • Post-Truth Phenomenon: The Devaluation of Fact in Media Discourse ; Феномен постправды: девальвация факта в медийном дискурсе. (2019). Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.D8B8DC92
  • Saffer, A. J., Yang, A., & Qu, Y. (2019). Talking Politics and Engaging in Activism: The Influence of Publics’ Social Networks on Corporations in the Public Sphere. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 63(3), 534–565. https://doi.org/10.1080/08838151.2019.1660130
  • van Dijk, T., & de Croon, G. C. H. E. (2019). How do neural networks see depth in single images? Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsarx&AN=edsarx.1905.07005
  • Yi, Y., Castiglia, T., & Patterson, S. (2019). Shifting Opinions in a Social Network Through Leader Selection. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsarx&AN=edsarx.1910.13009

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Bakhtin, M. M., Holquist, M., & Emerson, C. (1986). Speech Genres and Other Late Essays (Vol. 1st ed). Austin: University of Texas Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=351584