For a full and detailed list of ongoing and completed externally funded projects in the field of Political Communication, please visit our projects section.

Political Communication research focuses on communication about socio-political topics in public spaces. We study how institutions, organizations, and citizens communicate in and through traditional and new media. We also examine the effects of this type of communication on citizens' political cognitions, emotions, attitudes, and behaviours – both on the micro and macro level. The study of political communication pays particular attention to how current changes in media environments, evident for instance through the advent of social media or through increasing mobility or visualization of media contents, affects traditional political communication processes. Ultimately, the study of political communication is interested in understanding the role of media and communication in and for the development of liberal democracies.

The Department of Communication pays special attention to the following four key areas of political communication research:

  • Election Campaings and Media
    Among the central interest of political communication research is understanding the role of media and communication during election campaigns and for election outcomes. Central questions are whether communicative patterns influence voters understanding of and attitudes towards parties and policies. The Department is involved in the Austrian National Election Study (AUTNES) and contributes to the study of election in Austria and more generally at the local, national, and European level.
  • Digitalisation, Media, and Politics
    Media landscapes are changing dramatically. At the Department of Communication, we study how digitalisation influences all aspect of the political communication process. For instance, scholars investigate how political elites use digital spaces, such as social media, to communicate with and mobilize citizens. We also investigate how disinformation is spread online, and how public fears of disinformation are used by elite actors for political gain. We also examine digital production of political information, e.g., how political journalists may produce reliable, engaging, and diverse news coverage online. Lastly, we focus on the role of new types of digital actor groups, such as social media platforms, in the democratic process.
  • Media and Migration
    Migration has become a decisive political topic. The Department of Communication acknowledges this importance by investigating the nexus of media and migration from various perspectives. While some study the role of media in shaping perceptions of and attitudes towards migration among majority populations, others study the interaction of mediated migration and far right politics or the role of communication in migration processes or for migrant integration.
  • Emotions in Political Communication
    A team of scholars investigates the role of emotions in politics, media, and society. The focus here lies with understanding both how emotions influence the production of political communication, e.g., how institutions and journalists use emotionalised communication strategies, as well as on the effects emotions have on citizens and groups in democracies.