COM-20306 Communication and Policy Making


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Literature study
Course coordinator(s)dr. MGJ van Wessel
Lecturer(s)dr. MGJ van Wessel
Examiner(s)dr. MGJ van Wessel

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

One of the introductory courses offered by Communication Science.


Policy making can be described as a process that tends to involve different types of actors. Government organisations; stake holding groups such as 'local' people and interest groups such as those of farmers or industrialists; social movement organisations such as environmental organisations; the media; experts; the broader public - all these take part in the interaction that leads to policy. Policy making also involves different forms of interaction between these different types of actors. Think, for example, of opinion polling, politicians' interactions with the public through television and the internet, interactive policy making and participatory approaches in development. This course charts the nature and significance of these interactions, thereby showing how policy making processes are situated in society and involve a series of elementary questions and dilemmas that policy makers need to address in their work. In this course we address these by studying theory as well as concrete examples situated in developing countries as well as western democracies. We compare approaches and see how they apply in different contexts - and also discuss how better communication can contribute to better policy.

Learning outcomes:

After having followed this course students should be able to:
- distinguish different roles and forms of communication in policy making;
- describe political, social and cultural dimensions of policy processes;
- identify and describe the roles of different actors in policy processes;
- apply this knowledge in the analysis of concrete policy processes.


Lectures and class discussions.


A written exam.


A reader will be available during the first class session.

Compulsory for: BINInternational Development StudiesBScC: Communication, Technology and Policy5AF
BCLCommunication and Life SciencesBSc5AF
Restricted Optional for: MOAOrganic AgricultureMScA: Agro Ecology5AF
MOAOrganic AgricultureMScB: Consumer and Market5AF
MGIGeo-Information ScienceMSc5AF