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Democracy and the Public Sphere (9310.2)

Level: Level 2 - Undergraduate Intermediate Unit
Credit Points: 3
HECS Bands:

Band 1 2013-2020 (Expires 31 Dec 2020) Band 2 2021 (Commenced Before 1 Jan 2021) Band 4 2021 (Commenced After 1 Jan 2021)

Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Design
Discipline: Discipline of Communication and Media



    Unit Outlines

    To view your Unit Outline, click View to log in to MyUC and access this information, or visit your unit's online teaching site.

    • UC Term 4, 2016, ON-CAMPUS, LIFE (162206) - View
    • Semester 1, 2016, ON-CAMPUS, BRUCE (154632) - View
    • UC Term 4, 2015, ON-CAMPUS, LIFE (146873) - View
    • Semester 1, 2015, ON-CAMPUS, BRUCE (146234) - View

    If a link to your Unit Outline is not displayed, please check back later. Unit Outlines are generally published by Week One of the relevant teaching period.


    The public sphere is the key theoretical concept in the field of political communication. This unit traces the origins of the public sphere concept and its relationship with media and democratic theory. It introduces students to the study of public opinion by examining the multiple and contested understandings of public opinion and the way this is practiced in the rapidly changing contexts of contemporary political communication. Case studies will examine the relationships between media reporting, interest group opinion, policymakers and everyday conversation in shaping public opinion, politics and public policy. Students will consider contemporary critiques of the public sphere theory and its application in contemporary social and political settings.

    Learning Outcomes

    On completion of this unit, students will be able to:

    1. demonstrate knowledge of the historical development of the public sphere concept;

    2. understand the role of public opinion in a democratic society;

    3. critically analyse contested approaches to understanding public opinion formation, change and measurement;

    4. apply public opinion theories to a range of contemporary case studies;

    5. demonstrate critical thinking and problem solving skills;

    6. demonstrate written and oral communication skills.

    Assessment Items

    Contact Hours

    3 hours per week





    Assumed Knowledge


    Incompatible Units

    Restrictions: This unit is not open to students who have passed 8124 Democracy and Public Opinion.

    Equivalent Units

    8124 Democracy and Public Opinion

    Referenced Courses

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