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HPL2502 - United States Politics: Media and Power

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Dr Keith Wilson


Gippsland Second semester 2007 (Day)
Gippsland Second semester 2007 (Off-campus)


This unit has two aims: to provide students with an understanding of the fundamental elements of United States politics, and to give students an insight into the role of the media in the political process. It has four parts: foundations of democracy (the constitution), the media and the political process (congressional and presidential elections, party politics), the media and contemporary political issues (civil rights, poverty, and terrorism) and whither America? (Foreign policy). All parts seek to describe the dynamics of the political process and the way politics is presented, via the media, to the American people and the world at large.


To introduce students to the concepts, language and nature of United States politics.

  1. To outline the historic evolution of the major United States political institutions.
  2. To develop students' understanding of the relationship between the media and the political process, and the problems associated with political policy formulation and implementation.
  3. To promote critical and analytic skills in the research, and writing up of papers on the main institutions and problems faced by the United States political system.
Students will be encouraged to further develop their skills by:
  1. Applying terminology, theories and methods;
  2. Identifying classifications, structures and causal factors; and
  3. Extending their research, thinking and writing skills.
Formal skills in the following methodological techniques will be extended:
  1. Comprehension and analysis of theory, and political relationships;
  2. Synthesis of elements, ideas, evidence and generalisations;
  3. Evaluation -- quantitative and qualitative judgements on the extent to which material, methods and conclusions satisfy political science criteria.
Additional aims for HPL2502/HPL3502 students:
  1. To develop a more critical understanding of the conceptual issues and debates involved in the relationship between the political process and the mass media; and
  2. To develop a political research topic.


Essay (2500 words) (on-campus students include oral presentation): 60%
Examination (2 hours): 40%

Contact hours

2 hours per week (1-hour lecture, 1-hour tutorial)


HPL1503 and HPL1504 or equivalents


GSC2502, GSC3512, HPL3502