Socio-Political Impacts of Media, Communication and Culture

ERMeCC Research Theme

Media have a profound impact on the ways in which our reality is constructed; they inform and help shape our ideas and beliefs about society, politics and culture. News and entertainment media offer particular representations of reality through selection, framing and discourse. But the public sphere is also influenced by citizen groups, audiences, profit and non-profit organizations, corporations, lobby groups, which are all engaged in mediatized social, political, commercial and cultural practices. Within these practices, we investigate the struggle over meaning by media and media users; how media and other communications can bear the traces of these struggles, but also how representations are constitutive of them. Hoe can media representations concurrently construct new or reinforce dominant ways of thinking about the social world and relations in it?

We particularly consider the implications for three areas of social life: social relationships and identities, the logic(s) of politics, and the public sphere, devoting specific attention to the ways in which social actors - consumers, citizens, social groups or protest movements, political organizations, and government institutions - use the representational opportunities of media to advocate their views and positions in society. Questions for research are, for instance: How do young people use online media in their political practices? What is the role of media performances in managing and negotiating the consequences of politics? What is the role and position of new and entertainment media in the representation of diversity? How do organizations contribute to the well-being of local communities? What socio-political impact does popular media culture have on people’s beliefs and values?  


ERMeCC researchers focus on the following subjects:

  • Media framing/representation of politics, gender, conflict, suffering, social movements, cultural differences (Engelbert, Kester, Krijnen, Koopman, Van Sterkenburg, Von Engelhardt).
  • Media discourse and social change (Engelbert).
  • Issues of media, democracy and citizenship, online media, young people and political practices (Awad, Neys, Ward).
  • ICTs and international development (Arora).
  • Impact of health communication for social policies (Arora, Bouman).
  • Corporate responsibility and the public sphere (Chaudhri, Wang).

Recent publications (selection)

A selection of publications within this research theme is listed below.

Social-Political Impacts of Media and Communication


  • Janelle WardCommunicating Citizenship Online. New York: Hampton Press.

  • Payal Arora, Your kool-aid is not my kool-aid: Ideologies on Microfinance within an INGO Culture. Development in Practice, 22(7), 1006-1018.

  • Jiska Engelbert & Patrick McCurdy. ‘A threat to impartiality: Reconstructing and situating the BBC’s denial of the 2009 DEC appeal for Gaza’. Media, War & Conflict, 5(2), 101‐117.

  • Jiska Engelbert. From cause to concern: Critical Discourse Analysis and extra‐discursive interests. Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis across Disciplines, 5 (2), 54‐71.

  • Patrick McCurdy & Jiska Engelbert. ‘Straitjackets and flak jackets: The BBC, ‘boundary work’ and the failed 2009 DEC Appeal for Gaza’, Observatorio, 6(2), 27‐49.

  • David Novak & A.C. Billings. The fervent, the ambivalent, and the great gap between: American print media coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. International Journal of Sport Communication, 5, 35‐50.

  • C.E. Medved & David Novak. The ethics of the “family friendly” organization: The challenge of policy inclusiveness. In S. K. May (Ed.), Case studies in organizations: Ethical perspectives and practices (pp. 49‐57). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. [ISBN‐13: 978‐1412983099]

  • David Novak. Organizing for people without homes: How does structure impact the organization? In J. S. Wrench (Ed.), Casing organizational communication: Applying theory and research to the modern organization (pp. 57‐61). San Francisco, CA: Kendall‐Hunt Publishing. [ISBN: 978‐0‐7575‐9684‐1]


  • Isabel Awad. Latinas/os and the mainstream press: The exclusions of professional diversity. Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism, 12 (5), 515‐532.

  • Jiska Engelbert & Patrick McCurdy. Capitalising on the plasticity of impartiality. The BBC and the 2009 Gaza appeal. Critical Discourse Studies, (ISSN 1740-5904), 8(3), 183-201.

  • Jacob Groshek. Media, instability, and democracy: Examining the Granger-causal relationships of 122 Countries from 1946 to 2003. Journal of Communication, (ISSN 0021-9916), 61(6), 1161-1182.

  • Amy Koopman. Predictors of insight and catharsis among readers who use literature as a coping strategy. Scientific Study of Literature, (ISSN 2210-4372), 1(2), 241-259.

  • Yuping Mao & Shi, L. Weekend television viewing and video gaming are associated with less adolescent smoking. Journal of Substance Use, (ISSN 1465-9891), 16(2), 109-115.

  • Yuping Mao & Adria, M. Changes in public opinion after a public-deliberation event. Canadian Social Science (online), (ISSN 1712-8056), 7(6), 227-233.

  • Patrick McCurdy. Theorizing activists 'lay theories of media': A case study of the Dissent! Network at the 2005 G8 Summit. International Journal of Communication (online), (ISSN 1932-8036), 5, 619-638.

  • Patrick McCurdy. The fragility of dissent!: Mediated resistance at the Gleneagles G8 Summit and the impact of the 7/7. Culture, Language and Representation (online), (ISSN 1697-7750), 9, 99-116.


  • Payal Arora. Digital gods: The making of a medical fact for rural diagnostic software. The Information Society, (ISSN 0197-2243), 26(1), 70-79.

  • Jacob Groshek. A Time-Series, Multinational Analysis of Democratic Forecasts and Internet Diffusion. International Journal of Communication (online), (ISSN 1932-8036), 4, 142-174.

  • Bernadette Kester. The art of balancing. Foreign Correspondence in Non-Democratic Countries: the Russian Case. International Communication Gazette (online), (ISSN 1748-0493), 72, 51-69.

  • Bernadette Kester & Naomi Sakr (2010). Transparency in foreign news reporting.  International Communication Gazette (online), (ISSN 1748-0493), 72(1), 5-8.

  • Thornton, L.A. & David Novak. Storying the temporal nature of emotion work among volunteers: Bearing witness to the lived traumas of others. Health Communication, (ISSN 1041-0236), 25, 437-448.

  • Tonny Krijnen, Alvares, C. & Bauwel, S. Van (Eds.). Gendered Transformations. Theory and Practices on Gender and Media. Bristol: Intellect Ltd. (ISBN 978-184-150-3660). 


  • Jiska Engelbert. New Labour. Reconsidering the salience of language in a 'new' Labour Party. PhD Dissertation, Aberystwyth University (UK), Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies.

  • Tonny Krijnen. Imagining moral citizenship. Gendered politics in television discourses. In B. Cammaerts, S. van Bauwel & I. Garcia-Blanco (Eds.), Moral agoras: Democracy, diversity and Communication (pp. 115-133). Newcastle upon tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing (ISBN 978-1-4438-0348-9).

  • Janelle WardYouth, Citizenship and Online Political Communication. PhD Thesis. University of Amsterdam, ASCoR/Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences


  • Bernadette Kester. Working at the End of the Assembly Line: A Conversation with Joris Luyendijk about the Impossibility of Doing Western-style Journalism in Arab Countries. The International Journal Press/Politics 13: 500-506

  • Bernadette Kester. Uit de slaap gewekt. Nederlandse dagbladen verslaan de oorlog, 1870-1914. In P. Dassen & P. Groen (eds.), Van de barricaden naar de loopgraven. Oorlog en Samenleving in Europa, 1789-1918. Amsterdam: Bert Bakker, 199-236

  • Andreas R. T. Schuck & Janelle Ward. Dealing with the inevitable: Strategies of selfpresentation and meaning construction in the final statements of inmates on Texas Death Row. Discourse & Society 19 (1), 43-62

  • Janelle Ward. The online citizen-consumer: Addressing young people’s political consumption through technology. Journal of Youth Studies 11 (5), 513-526