SC106-4-FY-CO:
Media, Culture and Society

The details
2021/22
Sociology
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 4
Current
Thursday 07 October 2021
Friday 01 July 2022
30
07 October 2021

 

Requisites for this module
(none)
(none)
(none)
(none)

 

(none)

Key module for

BA LP33 Communications and Digital Culture,
BA LP34 Communications and Digital Culture (Including Placement Year),
BA P300 Communications and Digital Culture (Including Foundation Year),
BA PL33 Communications and Digital Culture (Including Year Abroad),
BA QP10 English Language with Media Communication,
BA QP11 English Language with Media Communication (Including Year Abroad),
BA QP12 English Language with Media Communication (Including Placement Year),
BA QP13 English Language with Media Communication (Including Foundation Year),
BA W350 Art History, Visual Culture and Media Studies,
BA W351 Art History, Visual Culture and Media Studies (including Year Abroad),
BA W352 Art History, Visual Culture and Media Studies (including Placement Year),
BA W353 Art History, Visual Culture and Media Studies (including Foundation Year)

Module description

Introduction

This module of study provides a critical introduction to the key issues of concern to scholars of modern culture and society within the emerging field of media studies. It explores the reasons why we must understand the role of the media in social life and provides an accessible account of how we get to grips with social communication. As such, our foremost interest will be examining the social practices that have shaped the media in modern society. By the end of the module, students will have accessed a range of critical approaches to questions such as:

• Do the media influence social behaviour and the politics of representation?
• What is the relationship between the media, mass politics and governance?
• Are the media reflective or instigative of social and cultural change?
• What constitutes media power and who wields it?

This module follows three major areas over two terms of lectures. In the Autumn term, the syllabus is focused on key concepts. In the Spring term, we will explore key debates and research methods.

Module aims

Aims and Objectives

The aim of this module is to encourage students to understand the modern media as a social terrain, as a systematic order of communication, and as a domain of ideas. The topics studied will cover some of the high profile areas of popular debate including the media and violence, the media and persuasion, the media and objectivity. In parallel, the module also develops some of the central concerns of intellectual debate, including:

• The relationship between popular aesthetics, technology and society.
• The role of the media in the construction and contestation of values and meanings.
• The progressive or regressive tendencies of an increasingly mediated society.

Students will receive a foundation in the major theoretical approaches to mass media, the premises of which will be established using examples from cinema, photography, newspapers and, in particular, television. In the process, students will encounter many of the disciplinary strands contributing to contemporary media analysis: sociology, cultural studies, semiotics, cultural and political economy, history, mass communications, and anthropology. Students will also consider the basics of practical methodologies for doing media research, including content analysis, research interviews and ethnography. The module is intended to be accessible to entry-level students in the humanities and social sciences, and will support further study of contemporary media in a number of disciplines.

Module learning outcomes

Students will receive a foundation in the major theoretical approaches to mass media, the premises of which will be established using examples from cinema, photography, newspapers and, in particular, television. In the process, students will encounter many of the disciplinary strands contributing to contemporary media analysis: sociology, cultural studies, semiotics, cultural and political economy, history, mass communications, and anthropology. Students will also consider the basics of practical methodologies for doing media research, including content analysis, research interviews and ethnography. The module is intended to be accessible to entry-level students in the humanities and social sciences, and will support further study of contemporary media in a number of disciplines.

Module information

Module topic list

AUTUMN TERM
Lecture 1 - week 2 Introduction to Media, Culture and Society
Lecture 2 - week 3 Media Texts and Meaning: Media Representations
Lecture 3 - week 4 Media and Social Context: Media Power
Lecture 4 - week 5 Media Texts and Meaning: How Do Media Make Meaning?
Lecture 5 - week 6 Media Texts and Meaning: Genre and Narrative
Lecture 6 - week 7 Media Texts and Meaning: Reality Media
Lecture 7 - week 8 Media and Social Contexts: Conceptualising Mass Society
Lecture 8 - week 9 Media and Social Contexts: Postmodernism and Post-Truth
Lecture 9 - week 10 Media and Social Contexts: Consumer Society and Advertising
Lecture 10 - week 11 Essay Surgeries

SPRING TERM
Lecture 11 - week 16 Producing Media: The Business of Media
Lecture 12 - week 17 Producing Media: Media Regulation and Policy
Lecture 13 - week 18 Producing Media: Media Production in A Global Age
Lecture 14 - week 19 Producing Media: Media Business in the Digital Age
Week 20 - Reading Week – Independent Activity (see below)
Lecture 15 - week 21 Media and Technology
Lecture 16 - week 22 Media Audiences: Producing Audiences
Lecture 17 - week 23 Media Audiences: Investigating Audiences
Lecture 18 - week 24 Media Audiences: New Media Audiences
Lecture 19 - week 25 Essay Surgeries

SUMMER TERM
Weeks 30 and 31 Revision Sessions

Learning and teaching methods

Teaching approach As there are still restrictions related to COVID-19 in place, some of the teaching on most modules will take place online. Most modules in Sociology are divided into lectures of around 50 minutes and a class of around 50 minutes. Some are taught as a 2hr seminar, and others via a 50-minute lecture and 2-hr lab. For the majority of modules the lecture-type content will be delivered online – either timetabled as a live online session or available on Moodle in the form of pre-recorded videos. You will be expected to watch this material and engage with any suggested activities before your class each week. Most classes labs and seminars will be taught face-to-face (assuming social distancing allows this). Please note that you should be spending up to eight hours per week undertaking your own private study (reading, preparing for classes or assignments, etc.) on each of your modules (e.g. 32 hours in total for four 30-credit modules). This module SC106-5-FY will include a range of activities to help you and your teachers to check your understanding and progress. These are: online discussion sessions, annotated bibliography, essays and a summer exam. The lectures provide an overview of the substantive debates around the topic of the week, while the classes will give you the opportunity to reflect on your learning and actively engage with your peers to develop your understanding further. The weekly classes will take place face-to-face (unless there is a change in the current COVID safety measures). You are strongly encouraged to attend the classes as they provide an opportunity to talk with your class teacher and other students. The classes will be captured and available via Listen Again. However, if you want to gain the most you can from these classes it is very important that you attend and engage. Please note that the recording of classes is at the discretion of the teacher.

Bibliography

This module does not appear to have any essential texts. To see non-essential items, please refer to the module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Autumn Essay   15/12/2021  5% 
Coursework   Spring Essay  23/03/2022  5% 
Exam  1440 minutes during Summer (Main Period) (Main) 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
50% 50%

Reassessment

Coursework Exam
50% 50%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr James Allen-Robertson, email: jallenh@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Michael Bailey, email: mbailey@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Michael Bailey and Dr James Allen-Robertson
email: socugrad (Non essex users should add @essex.ac.uk to create the full email address)

 

Availability
Yes
Yes
Yes

External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Resources
Available via Moodle
Of 669 hours, 76 (11.4%) hours available to students:
593 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).

 

Further information
Sociology

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