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Appears in Collections:Communications, Media and Culture eTheses
Title: The "unsung heroes" of spin? Parliamentary assistants' management, organisation and practices of communication on behalf of Scottish Parliamentarians
Author(s): Ludwicki-Ziegler, Sebastian
Supervisor(s): Hadland, Adrian
Dinan, William
Keywords: parliamentary staff
parliamentary assistants
Scottish Parliament
House of Commons
political communication
Member of Parliament
Member of the Scottish Parliament
Public Relations
media management
Communication Officers
Issue Date: 30-Apr-2023
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: Parliamentary assistants (PAs) are recognised as being of crucial importance for parliamentarians. However, even though the literature acknowledges their relevance for the work of parliamentarians, they are rarely the subject of scholarly debates or in-depth research. This is particularly surprising given that the debates around spin doctors would have invited to investigate the role of PAs in the political communication of parliamentarians. The role of those media advisors is similar to that of PAs, who have communication-related duties. The practices of PAs in creating communication content or managing media are unexplored territory. It is also unknown how dynamics within parliamentary offices affect the creation of political communication on behalf of parliamentarians. To close this gap of knowledge, this study is going to answer two research questions: 1. What importance do parliamentary offices assign to media management and political communication outside the purdah period? 2. How is the relationship between parliamentarians and the media managed and political communication planned, designed, and executed in their parliamentary offices? This research project uses a qualitative research design and utilises a case study approach. Sixty semi-structured expert interviews were conducted, and the sampling was focused on recent and former PAs, parliamentarians, and PPG staff members. The findings show that parliamentarians' preferences and internal and external constraints limit the professionalisation and mediatisation of political communication on behalf of parliamentarians. Political communication is often undertaken as a group rather than a team effort, and the importance assigned does not usually exceed the relevance of other tasks. The research provides insight into parliamentary assistants' dynamics, practices, and approaches to political communication and media management in an increasingly professionalised and mediatised political environment. It addresses significant gaps in knowledge and advances the debates on the mediatisation of politics and the professionalisation of political communications.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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