Modelling Political Cognition
Authors: Lilleker, D.G.
Our context is a political communication environment that is highly professionalised, though of course there are variances between and within nations of the extent of professionalisation. All media, from mass broadcasting via a national television channel to street-level campaigning is utilised, alongside the affordances of the latest digital technologies. Political communication has entered the hypermedia age. Similarly political competition has become highly marketised, though with the same caveat of variances, adapting corporate communication techniques and strategies for positioning a party or candidate as well as engaging and persuading citizens. The extent of tailoring for specific media and the foregrounding of charismatic figures are contingent upon what is likely to work within the context of a nation, its politics and its culture. But, above all, political communication is strategically designed to make citizens think, to some extent, and shape their attitudes. Political communication has multiple aims, from encouraging compliance with legislation, supporting social or economic reforms to building trust and so winning votes at elections. The challenge is to cut through the clutter in the modern communication environment, have a stronger, more persuasive voice than the opponents, and get a message accepted, stored and acted upon in the way desired.