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Global Strategic Communication: media in emerging markets


Zhang Z.

Course director


Course Objectives

The course provides students with a basic understanding of strategic communication in today’s complex communication landscape. Considering the increasing foreign direct investment from and to emerging markets as well as the number of young professionals moving to developing countries in search of future opportunities, it is crucial to offer students a basic knowledge of communication patterns in the emerging media markets at an early age of higher-education. This course is thus designed to help students grow both abilities and curiosities to understand other cultures that are influencing, reviving, and changing the balance of world economic and geopolitical power. It also provides students with hands-on analytic tools to evaluate suitable communication strategies under different localization circumstances. The course discusses characteristics of the top four Big Emerging Markets (BEM), namely the BRIC countires, Brazil, Russia, India, and China, with a grand overview of their features from a cross-cultural perspective. An up-to-date case study from the fast-changing media world of the four countries is followed to tackle the challenges posed to the existing communication model/order. By merging theories from strategic communication, intercultural communication, and political economy of communication, students will be guided to understand how to balance global consideration with local execution and to adapt existing communication strategies (and design new solutions) to the changing media environment with a strategic mindset and global outlook.

Course Description

The course is composed of three main parts:

  1. Theoretical introduction into basic theoretical concepts and terms in strategic communication, intercultural communication, and political economy of communication. These lectures in the first two weeks of the course are designed to look at different other cultures and societies beyond the European and North American context and in their relation to the transnational exchange of information, actors, and technologies.
  2. The empirical part of the lectures discusses particular cases from China, India, Russia, and Brazil. Specific introduction of the featured social-cultural elements from the four emerging markets are offered, critical discussion of case studies in the media world (both success and failures) of the national media projects into international media market are offered;
  3. Developing individual student papers with relevant topics (not limited to the four emerging countries introduced in the class) and discussion with relevant scientific literature. Supporting the development of individual student papers (theoretical framework, methods, analysis). Presentation and discussion of individual papers.

Learning Methods

The theoretical part of the course is composed by the ex-cathedra lectures, based on the academic readings. The empirical part of the lectures combines ex-cathedra teaching and hands-on approach: teachers introduce the specific socio-cultural elements of particular emerging markets so students, being guided by specific concepts and examples from the relevant scientific literature, would be able to analyze during the lecture particular cases of media companies. Once the students have selected, in agreement with the teachers (each student paper will be assigned to one responsible teacher in this case), a topic for their individual work, the course will extend further on how to structure their individual research papers in connection to the field of studies (include building framework from scientific literature, identifying research questions & methods & data sources, etc.) The teachers will provide constant support for students with personalized feedback during the entire process of their work. Individual student papers will be presented during the last lesson of the course and discussed together in the class.

Examination Information

The evaluation is based on the individual research paper (60%), the final presentation of the paper (20%) and the in-class participation (20%). The required length of the final individual paper is 3000-4000 words. Students are encouraged to follow a critical analysis of a specific case study within (but not limited to) the four emerging markets introduced in the class.

Required Material

  • Hall, E. (1976) Beyond Culture, New York: Anchor Press
  • Hallahan, K., Holtzhausen, D., van Ruler, B., Veri, D., & Sriramesh, K. (2007). Defining strategic communication. International Journal of Strategic Communication, 1 (1), 3-35.
  • Hugill, P. J. (1999). Global communications since 1844: Geopolitics and technology. Baltimore, London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • Hungtington, S.P. (1993) The clash of civilization, Foreign Affairs
  • Malamud, A., 2011. A Leader without Followers? The Growing Divergence Between the Regional and Global Performance of Brazilian Foreign Policy, Latin American Politics and Society 53(3), pp. 1-24.