This course examines key aspects of contemporary theory, research and practice in political communications in democratic societies during both campaign periods and day-to-day government. The first section focuses on examining the degree of influence and power the media (including public affairs but also entertainment media) have in contemporary democracies. The second section focuses on exploring how political actors, such as parties and leaders, use political marketing, media management and other persuasion techniques to pursue their political objectives. The final section analyses how the nature of contemporary political communication affects the conduct and quality of the democratic process. The focus will be mostly on the UK and the US but it will also compare political communication across countries, and how this has changed over time.