- Political Communication in Canada: Meet the Press and Tweet the Rest ed. by Alex Marland, Thierry Giasson, and Tamara A. Small
This edited collection, the unofficial follow-up to Political Marketing in Canada (Marland, Giasson, Lees-Marshment 2012), comprises a diverse but coherent set of chapters focusing on the issue of political communication in Canada. The book is divided into three main sections. The first brings together research on the status quo of communication by Canadian political institutions, in particular the concept of the ‘permanent campaign’, the relevance of political advertising, and branding and image management. The second focuses on changes in political communication (e.g. between the Canadian Parliamentary Press Gallery and the Harper government), the evolution of ‘personalized politics’, and demonstrates the range of political news now available to Canadians. However, the final section highlights that this range does not mean that Canadians are necessarily more engaged in politics; instead, studies of blogger partisanship and the uptake and impact of communication show that readership is not uniform and Canadians do not have equal access to messages.
Overall, the collection does well to bring together such a diverse array of media types (e.g. newspapers, Twitter, blogs, online reader feedback), methodologies (e.g. experimental design, surveys, content analysis, discourse analysis), and regional and political foci in such a coherent edition. The editors’ Introduction and Conclusion usefully draw together the common themes of the book and the chapters flow together seamlessly. The collection also does well to balance political and media angles in such a way that researchers or interested parties in either field will find the contents accessible. Indeed, the book is also suitable for a novice audience of students or ‘migrants’ to the field of political communication. Another benefit of the book is that the literature and data drawn on tend to be very recent, highlighting the cutting-edge nature of this publication.
In their Introduction, the editors note that communication by political actors in Canada has seven defining characteristics. It might have been useful for the Conclusion to demonstrate how these themes were present, absent, or evolving in the intervening chapters because it seemed that some themes (e.g. one-way versus reciprocal communication) predominated over others. More specifically, there was unfortunately little evidence from Franco-Canadian media and little exploration of Canada’s increasingly multilingual context. Also, while the collection is mainly research-driven, some chapters could have benefited from the inclusion of more data examples. While the impossibility of obtaining permissions was the cause in Chapter 4, in other cases it was not clear why examples were omitted.
Nonetheless, the book offers to a range of interested readers an engaging array of studies of recent media data that are presented in a coherent and focused manner. Such a cutting-edge collection will surely prove to be indispensable reading for researchers in political science, media, communication, Canadian studies, and other fields for many years to come. [End Page 128]