APPLICATION OF COMMUNICATION RESEARCH TO POLITICAL CONTEXTS
KATHLEEN E. KENDALL University at Albany, State University of New York
Political communication is the process of negotiating the allocation of limited resources (especially money) among groups or masses of people for programmatic reasons, through the exchange of symbols, verbal or nonverbal. The definition alone suggests the relevance of several areas of communication research to political contexts, such as interpersonal communication, mass communication and its effects, and political language. Rigorous and effective research in political communication has direct application or potential for application to problem solving in diplomacy, public administration, electoral politics, media management, reform movements, and public relations.
Once largely the domain of campaign studies, political communication research in recent years has broadened to include more general conceptions. In addition to research directed at theory building, which underlies much of the research done, the main areas are: (a) political news, (b) voter decision making, (c) presidential leadership, (d) political language, (e) the fantasy element in mass-mediated politics, (f) political advertising, and (g) international political communication research. A promising area of research in its infancy is the study of interpersonal communication within politics, and there is serious need for research on communication in state government and for more theory building. Political communication is an interdisciplinary area of study, with important research going on in political science, speech communication, journalism, mass communication, broadcasting, and psychology.