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Political Communication Systems

Barbara Pfetsch


Looking at political communication phenomena in a systems framework is a common approach in this field of study. The term “system,” in its general meaning, denotes a multitude of component parts, depending on each other, and functioning as a whole (→  Systems Theory ). The nature of the political communication system is thought of as a structure of producing, processing, and communicating political messages. As Blumler and Gurevitch (1977) point out, adapting the systems approach to political communication processes implies the assumption that variation in one of its component parts would be associated with variation in other components. By analogy with the political culture research ( Almond & Verba 1963 ), a political communication system can be mapped out along four dimensions . First, it implies an institutional structure that depicts the space in the media and politics in which politicians and journalists interact to produce messages. This structure is directly influenced by the set-up of the media and political system. Second, the political communication system implies an input side of →  public opinion that reflects the reactions of the public and, third, it implies an output side that depicts the messages that are produced at the interface between media and politics with regard to the public. The fourth dimension of the political communication system implies the ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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