Skip to main content
  • Book
  • © 2022

The Prime Minister-Media Nexus

Centralization Logic and Application

Palgrave Macmillan
  • Argues that media generates functional pressures consolidating a trend of centralization toward the executive centre

  • Advances research on the presidentialization of politics and on government communication

  • Application to the Swedish case focusing on the office of prime minister and the government communication system

Part of the book series: Palgrave Studies in Political Leadership (PSPL)

Buying options

Hardcover Book USD 149.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
This title has not yet been released. You will be able to pre-order it soon.

About this book

“Karl Magnus Johansson makes a powerful argument that the media’s influence on institutions shapes and augments prime ministerial authority.”

Alex Marland, author of Brand Command: Canadian Politics and Democracy in the Age of Message Control (2016)

“This book fills an important gap as it advances theoretical reflection and empirical understanding of how governments respond to volatile communication environments by reorganizing their functions to manage the demands of the media.”  

Barbara Pfetsch, author and editor of Political Communication Cultures in Europe: Attitudes of Political Actors and Journalists in Nine Countries (2014)

This book offers a systematic inquiry into how, why, and with what consequences media affects governments and the standing of prime ministers. It aims at an understanding of how media has caused institutional effects in government, as well as at advancing a unified theory of government communication. The author develops a logic of centralization and applies it to one case, Sweden. Government communication has been institutionalized, tightened and centralized with the prime minister and has changed irreversibly. Analysis of how the government communication system has evolved, mainly in its institutional structures, suggests that the shift to centralization arose more out of necessity than choice. For prime ministers most of this is about finding ways to ensure that the entire government respond to media uniformly. As governments face a set of functional demands from media, different kinds of media, uniformity has been a paramount objective. Nevertheless, this development involves shifting dynamics of intra-executive relations and a shift of power away from ministries to the prime minister’s office; the apex of political power. The prime minister has been empowered at the expense of ministers through the concentration of power and resources to the executive centre. That is partly because of media, which reinforces political hierarchies. That and the centralized control of government news in turn raises further questions about democratic governance and the nature of modern-day governing. 

Karl Magnus Johansson is Affiliate Professor of Political Science at Södertörn University, Stockholm, Sweden.


Keywords

  • political communication
  • presidentialization of politics
  • prime minister communication
  • politics and the media
  • personalization of prime ministers
  • prime minister
  • function
  • empowerment
  • institutional change
  • logic of centralization
  • media
  • presidentialization
  • adaptation
  • centralization
  • communication

Reviews

“This welcome study of Swedish government adds to growing evidence worldwide that communications are a formidable force in the centralization of political power. Karl Magnus Johansson makes a powerful argument that the media’s influence on institutions shapes and augments prime ministerial authority.” (—Alex Marland, Professor of Political Science, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada, author of Brand Command: Canadian Politics and Democracy in the Age of Message Control (2016))

“Karl Magnus Johansson reveals the paradox between ever more fragmentation, diversity and decentralization of media and ever more centralization of government communication. His study fills an important gap as it advances theoretical reflection and empirical understanding of how governments respond to volatile communication environments by reorganizing their functions to manage the demands of the media.” (—Barbara Pfetsch, Professor of Communication Theory and Media Effects Research, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany, and author and editor of Political Communication Cultures in Europe: Attitudes of Political Actors and Journalists in Nine Countries (2014))

Authors and Affiliations

  • School of Social Sciences, Södertörn University, Huddinge, Sweden

    Karl Magnus Johansson

About the author

Karl Magnus Johansson is Affiliate Professor of Political Science at Södertörn University, Stockholm, Sweden. Previously, he was Professor at Södertörn University and Part-Time Professor at the European University Institute, Florence, Italy.




Bibliographic Information

Buying options

Hardcover Book USD 149.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
This title has not yet been released. You will be able to pre-order it soon.