The Power of Feelings? News Media Coverage and the Role of Emotions in the German Bundestag Election Campaign

22.05.2017 - 12:00 to 13:30
Location : 
A 5,6 Raum A 231
Type of Event : 
AB B-Kolloquium
Dr. Andreas Schuck
Lecturer affiliation: 
Universität Amsterdam

Has the world gone crazy? This perception – that there is reason to worry – seems to be more and more widespread. Politics and public debate have gotten increasingly emotional. 2017, in this respect, is an exciting year for researchers interested in election campaigns and media effects. Crucial elections – in arguably “interesting” times – are taking place in France, the Netherlands and Germany, to name a few. The role of emotions in political communication has received increasing attention by scholars in recent years but also by journalists and citizens alike. And not without reason – the economic debt crisis, the EU crisis, but also the refugee crisis are all emotional topics as such but also the upcoming of new or stronger populist parties in many countries seem to be changing not only the political landscape as such but also public political discourse. Currently, there is widespread concern that societies are drifting more and more apart, incivility in political discussions is spreading, politicians are increasingly drawing on emotions, media are picking up this trend, and, finally, citizens are acting on emotions - and this might all be detrimental to democracy. But what’s the evidence?  In this talk I am focusing on the role of emotions in political communication, both from the content as well as from the effect side. What kind of media content sparks emotions – and how does it influence citizens in their political opinions, attitudes or behavior. Are citizens more and more driven by emotions – and are the media responsible for this? And, is this (just) bad or (also) good? Examples include current topics such as EU politics, immigration, terrorism, climate change, international trade, but also – most prominently – the last (and next) German Bundestag Elections.