Building Theory in Political Communication: The Politics-Media-Politics Approach

Gadi Wolfsfeld, Tamir Sheafer, Scott Althaus

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook


The goal of this volume is to contribute to the collective effort of building cumulative knowledge in the field of political communication. It does so by adapting, refining, and extending the Politics-Media-Politics (PMP) principle. PMP is an intentionally broad conceptual map that is designed to be adopted by researchers working in a variety of fields. The book's chapters illustrate this concept map's basic components, demonstrate how to apply it, and showcase its usefulness. The PMP principle can be best understood in two central propositions. The "politics first" proposition makes the following claim: The role of all forms of media in politics can best be understood as one in which variations in political ecosystems are the most important factors leading to variations in communication systems, values, practices, and resources. The "media selection and transformation" proposition is formulated thusly: All forms of media do not merely reflect the nature of the political ecosystem, they can also have an independent effect on political processes by selecting and transforming political events and issues into stories. When these two claims are combined, detailed, and developed, they provide a powerful conceptual structure for integrating research from a variety of fields in political communication. Chapters address the role of the media in election campaigns, historical change, violent conflicts and peace processes, comparative political communication, and how to use the PMP approach to assess media performance in democratic and autocratic regimes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages214
ISBN (Electronic)9780197634998
ISBN (Print)9780197635001
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022


  • elections
  • media
  • media and politics
  • political communication
  • political communication theories
  • politics first
  • politics-media-politics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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