Course Contents

The adoption of market mechanisms and new technologies in media around the world have brought about tremendous changes in government, business, research, and many other areas of everyday life. Debates about the consequences of market-based and new media usually center around claiming the revolutionizing effects deepening democracy and destabilizing existing power structures; others argue that the market or technology may strengthen control and authoritarianism without much capacity for political change. This course examines the consequences of changes in the media landscape within different political systems. We will attempt go beyond highlighting the utopian and dystopian effects and instead identify which arguments have yielded the strongest evidence.

Following the logic of classifications into democratic and authoritarian political systems the course is divided into two parts: the first part deals with market-based and new media as providers of information, focusing on content that is produced online; here we are particularly interested in whether content is becoming more uniform or diverse as the first dimension differentiating democratic and authoritarian tendencies. The second part focuses on the participatory aspects of new media technology that provides citizens with new opportunities to engage; political engagement constitutes the second dimension defining democratic and authoritarian elements.
The course takes a global perspective, going beyond Europe and the United States to China, Russia, and the Middle East. Students are welcome to bring up examples from other countries.

Learning objectives
The course offers students an overview of the principal theoretical and policy debates on new media. The course is theoretically grounded in Political Science and Communications, although previous knowledge of the discipline is not a prerequisite. Students will be expected to:
• Understand and differentiate between factors that strengthen democracy and authoritarianism
• Identify major changes and challenges of media in the 21st century
• Critically reflect on whether the Internet serves as an avenue for citizen empowerment and participation or increases government and corporate control over information
• Learn how to serve as a commentator or moderator of a discussion

Instructor Information:
Daniela Stockmann is Professor of Digital Politics and Media at the Hertie School of Governance. She holds degrees from the University of Rochester, the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (2007). Before joining the Hertie School faculty, she was Associate Professor of Political Science at Leiden University. Her current research focuses on trends towards digitalization of societies across the globe and their challenges for policy-makers and citizens. She also maintains an interest in authoritarian forms of governance and challenges to political stability. Her book, Media Commercialization and Authoritarian Rule in China (Cambridge University Press, 2013), has received the 2015 Goldsmith Book Prize awarded by the Harvard Kennedy School Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy. Her recent project explores the impact of social media on citizen participation, funded by a Starting Grant of the European Research Council (ERC). She is also a consultant for think tanks, social media startups and NGOs focusing on digitalization and privacy protection.