Communication Politics and Policy: An International Ecology (USC)

ANSC 557:

Communications Politics and Policy: An International Ecology

Instructor: William Dutton

Professor Dutton has studied the politics of communicationtechnology and policy from a cross-national comparative perspective since the early1980s and has worked and taught in Britain, first as a Fulbright scholar and then asdirector of the UK’s Programme on Information and Communication Technologies. Hisbook entitled Wired Cities (G. K. Hall, 1987) provided a comparative look at thedevelopment of cable television in the United States, Britain, France, Germany, andJapan. He co-edited a new book, entitled The Social Shaping of Information Highways:European and American Roads to the Information Society, with colleagues in the UKand Germany.

Purpose: This course teaches students how to think comparatively about theinternational ecology of games shaping the future of communication policy andpractice.

Objective: Cross-national and regional differences in politics, policy, and practice are asource of opportunities and problems for communication. This course tries to provide ageneral understanding of major cross-national variations in communication politics andpublic policy that will help students make sense of particular problems and issues.

Content: This course focuses on the politics of communication industries and publicpolicy. The class will introduce you to cross-national trends in the politics ofbroadcasting, cable and satellite, telecommunications, new media, and industrialpolicy. In addition, students will look in more depth at particular case studies, such aspublic service broadcasting, the wired nation, and the information superhighway, to seehow a comparative political perspective can create a unique vantage point for policyand practice.

Teaching Methods: The seminar involves lectures, discussion, and presentations bystudents, which are based on comparative research. Simple exercises are used toshow students the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to comparativestudy. Students will collaborate on the construction of a course Web page thatidentifies sites useful for keeping track of developments in communication industries,policy, and practice round the world.

Grading: Students are required to participate in two collaborative group exercises incomparative communications (one involving the use of aggregate data, another the useof the Internet); write a term paper, and take a final examination over the coursematerial.

Career Relevance: Graduates of the Annenberg School need to have an internationalperspective on developments in communication policy and practice. Knowledge abouthow other nations and industries have approached similar problems and issues canmake you more insightful about your own nation or industry and more effective in yourcareer. Whether your field is entertainment, telecommunications, management, or lawand policy, you are likely to be working in an increasingly global arena that requires asensitivity to international differences. To course syllabus

To course web page

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