The aim of this paper is to achieve better understanding of political communication by critically reviewing Jesper Stromback’s four-dimension concept of mediatisation of politics. The essay is divided into three parts as follows. The first part presents the concepts of mediation and mediatisation, which contribute to the basis of Stromback’s theories. In the second part, the concept of mediatisation of politics by Stromback is deconstructed. With the help of such a concept, political communication can be perceived as a process in which adaptations between politics and media as well as competitions between media logic and political logic are involved in. The final section of ...view middle of the document...
Mediatisation is a concept emphasizing the increasing media influence in different areas with time. In a broad sense, mediatisation is related to “changes associated with communication media and their development (Schulz, 2004).” Four processes of social changes in which the media play a key role are identified as extension, substitution, amalgamation and accommodation. The first three processes focus on media’s role of stretching beyond the limits of communication, replacing and merging with certain non-media activities in societies. The fourth process means that media become so important that social actors have to seek accommodation to the way media operate. For example, politicians must take the “media logic” into consideration in any political process (Schulz, 2004: 88-90). Stromback and Esser (2009:211) added one more process, creation, to explain that events can be created to attract coverage by the media. These processes of mediatisation apply to all levels in societies.
In a more specific way, Hjarvard’s (2009:160) definition of mediatisation refers to “a process whereby society to an increasing degree is summated to, or becomes dependent on, the media and their logic”. He further explained that the process is also characterized by the media’s acquiring an independent status as a social institution and increasing permeation into other social institutions. In the next part of the essay, Stromback’s concept is analyzed according to the conceptual background above and the introduction of two important concepts of media logic and political logic.
Media Logic versus Political Logic: Stromback’s Four-Dimension Concept of Mediatisation of Politics
Stromback’s concept of mediatisation of politics is mainly characterized by the understanding of media logic versus political logic. Therefore, it is essential to clarify the two logics before discussing on his theories.
Media logic was first introduced by Altheide and Snow (1979:10):
Media logic consists of a form of communication; the process through which media present and transmit information. Elements of this form include the various media and the formats used by these media. Format consists, in part, of how material is organized, the style in which it is presented, the focus or emphasis on particular characteristics of behavior, and the grammar of media communication.
In other words, media logic can be understood as certain formats, processes, routines and the pursuit of compelling stories that the media have in perceiving, covering and interpreting social affairs. Such a framework keeps the media to be competitive in the race of grasping people's attention (Stromback, 2008:233).
In the mediatisation of politics, political logic can be conceived to be the opposite of media logic (Brants and Praag, 2006). To conceptualize political logic, it is essential to recognize that politics is all about “collective and authoritative decision making and the implementation of political...