Thinking Politics — An Introduction
Authors: Lilleker, D.G.
There is much research dedicated to the study of the relationship between media and politics; equally we have long researched the strategic role of political communication (for key texts, see Negrine & Stanyer, 2007), in particular in the context of election campaigning (Trent et al., 2011). There is also a burgeoning literature that explores political communication using marketing or public relations perspectives (Newman, 1999; Lees-Marshment, 2011b; Stromback & Kiousis, 2010). Many of these and similar works analyse the various strategies of political parties and candidates in order to develop an academic understanding of how politics is communicated and with what intended impact. Equally there are numerous studies of the citizen, their feelings, attitudes and modes of participation (Evans, 2003). Some studies combine the two, often focusing on specific political episodes such as an election campaign or a crisis within the political sphere (for examples, see Houghton, 2008), to ascertain the impacts upon those who we may refer to as citizens, participants or audiences: the consumers of politics and of political communication. This work draws on these perspectives in order to develop an analysis of both the outputs (the message, forms of communication and use of media) and their impacts (the reception and interpretation of the message). Large-scale quantitative studies must by definition view citizens as an amorphous mass; they are the people to whom political communication is directed and their opinions can only be aggregated to produce simple data on outcomes; for example, it is possible to correlate campaign strength with polling data on preferences and actual voting behaviour (for example, see Crigler, 1998 or the collections of studies in Leduc, 2002).