MEVIT4321 – Political Communication: Strategic Communication and Lobbying

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Course content

This course will focus on the strategic communication of the social actors that seek influence in the political realm. Organized interests like businesses, nongovernmental organisations, trade associations and unions have a stake in how policies are formed and implemented. To this end, they will seek to influence politicians and bureaucrats directly and indirectly.

The Nordic region has been characterized by so-called corporatism, whereby some actors have institutionalised privileged access to politicians and the political decision-making process. Over the last few decades, however, lobbying has been seen to substitute or supplement corporatist arrangements. The course addresses the lobbying strategies and techniques used to impact the political agenda, understandings of issues, and, ultimately, political decisions. The implications for democracy of such activities are discussed, focusing on how deliberation can be improved through this process, but also how certain interests might prevail over others.

Questions that are raised include:

  • What is strategic communication, lobbying and corporatism?
  • What is the historical background for the link between strategic communication and politics?
  • Do some interests have undue political influence on the democratic process through strategic communication?
  • Can better policy outcomes be delivered by the provision of expertise that decision-makers lack?
  • What communication strategies are used by lobbyists?
  • What role is played by news media and social media?

Learning outcome

The students will learn about:

  • Theories of strategic communication and lobbying, and the relationship to politics and democracy
  • The historical development of lobbying in the Nordic region
  • In what way social actors use news media and social media to influence politics 
  • How to write a theoretical or empirical analysis about how strategic communication impacts the political decision-making process


MA-students enrolled in the Political Communication: the Nordic Context direction of the Media studies master's program will have priority for this course. Master students enrolled in other programs at the University of Oslo can also take the course, if there are available spaces.


Teaching in the course is organised as lectures and seminars.


Compulsory activity:

The students must have the following four obligatory activities approved in order to qualify for the exam:

  • Attendance to 5 of 7 of the seminars
  • Submission and presentation of two written group assignments 
  • Submission and presentation of written feedback to two assignments
  • Students must chair a discussion during a given seminar.

Read about compulsory activities at the Faculty of Humanities.


Three day take-home exam.

The exam paper should consist of 10 pages, +/- 10%.  The front page, bibliography, any appendices and pictures (if any) will not be counted. Each page should be about 2300 characters without spaces. 

The obligatory activity must be approved before the exam.

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit assignments in Inspera.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


Periodic evaluations

Periodic evaluation spring 2020

Facts about this course






Every spring

First taught spring 2020


Every spring

First exam spring 2020

Teaching language