Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Communication Studies

First Advisor

Ruggles, Myles,


Mass Communications.




This thesis is a study of 'television town hall meetings.' The term television town hall meeting (TTM) refers to television programmes that feature political discussion between political leaders and a live studio audience of citizens. Public participation in this type of discursive forum appears to represent a democratization of the process of political media coverage and the process of public opinion formation itself. The purpose of this study is to investigate the television town hall meeting as a genre of public political interaction within the public sphere. Livingstone and Lunt (1994: 4) suggest that the mass media are attempting three roles with audience discussion programmes such as television town hall meetings. First, they can "act as spokesmen for the people to both government and experts, conveying opinions, experiences, information and criticism upwards to the elite." Second, they can "allow the public to hold politicians to account directly, rather than by proxy." Finally, they can "provide a social space for communication among the lay public itself, both in the form of the audience and in its relation between studio and home audiences, and thus give everyday experiences and opinions a new and powerful legitimation." This study examines the contributions of television town hall meetings to deliberative democracy' in the public sphere according to their ability to promote public advocacy, command political accountability, and provide an adequate social space of public communication.Dept. of Communication Studies. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis1999 .B43. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 39-02, page: 0312. Adviser: Myles Ruggles. Thesis (M.A.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1999.