CPT-21806 Communication, Power and Politics


Studiepunten 6.00

Group work5
Independent study0
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:

CPT-12306 Introduction to Strategic Communication, or CPT-23804 Introduction to Communication and Innovation Studies.


Public policies are the outcome of political processes in which communication plays an important role. For example, government organisations; local and online communities; interest groups such as those of industrialists; civil society organisations such as environmental organisations; experts; the broader public - all these engage in communication to shape and influence public policy. This happens through many different forms of interaction. Think, for example, of lobbying, public debate, and participatory approaches in development. From a communication perspective, policymaking is then a continuous, complex negotiation about meaning making that defines what counts as an important public issue, who can speak and be heard, and what counts as a legitimate, true and important solution. Power and politics express themselves in many ways here. Key questions in this course are: how can the roles of different types of actors be understood? Who gets to speak and be heard, and why? How can inclusions and exclusions be understood? What forms of communication advance inclusion? This course provides a broad foundation for understanding different roles of communication in the making of public policy, and for helping to advance inclusive governance through communication. The course is structured as a role-play, with student groups taking the roles of consultants advising government on communication in the context of a self selected policy process (with options provided in the domains of health, environment and international development).  

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- distinguish different roles and forms of communication in policy processes
- identify, describe and explain the roles of different actors in policy processes
- explain dimensions of policy processes that contribute to or hinder inclusiveness
- identify ways to advance inclusive policymaking through communication
- apply this knowledge in the analysis of concrete policy processes.


- lectures;
- tutorials. Students presence at tutorials is obligatory.


- written test with 6 open questions (50%);
- five interim reports on practical group assignments  (50%).
- peer reviews. As part of group work, students are expected to conduct five peer reviews. These are assessed and contribute +0.5, +0.0 or -0.5 to the average grade for the five interim reports. 
To pass the course the grades for the written test and the average grade for the five interim report both have to be at least 5.50.


A reader will be available on Brightspace.

Verplicht voor: BINInternational Development StudiesBScC: Spec. C - Politics and Communication in Development5AF
BCLCommunication and Life SciencesBSc5AF