Mass Media and Modern Life

The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 18 December 2020
07 October 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for

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)

Module description

The module charts the period of intensive developments in new communication technologies from the latter part of the nineteenth century through to the inter-war years and considers the impact of these new mass media on social and cultural life in Britain from the 1860s through to the present day.

From the emergence of new forms of print culture, through the impact of radio, cinema, television to the mass production and distribution of recorded music, the course in particular explores the role of these new media in shaping distinctive forms of mass culture.

Module aims

A central ambition of the course is to historically chart the formation and development of these forms of mass culture and also to reflect upon the public debates associated with their emergence.

Module learning outcomes

The course is framed by a concern to grasp the importance of the modern mass media at a point when new technological developments in the means of communication are signalling its dissolution.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

1 hour lecture and 1 hour seminar weekly


  • C. Gledhill with V. Bell. (1997) 'Genre and gender: the case of soap opera', in Representation: cultural representations and signifying practices, London: Sage Publications in association with the Open University. vol. Culture, media and identities
  • McKibbin, Ross. (1998) Classes and cultures: England, 1918-1951, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Iain Chambers. (1988) Popular culture: the metropolitan experience, London: Routledge.
  • Donald, James. (1992) Sentimental education: schooling, popular culture and the regulation of liberty, London: Verso.
  • Harry Pilkington. (1962) Report of the Committee on Broadcasting, 1960, London: H.M.S.O.
  • Crisell, Andrew. (2002) An introductory history of British broadcasting, London: Routledge.
  • Richard Dyer. (2002) 'Coming Out as Going In: The Image of the Homosexual as a Sad Young Man', in The culture of queers, London: Routledge., pp.116-136
  • Lockwood, David. (no date) The 'New Working Class'. vol. 1 (2) , pp.248-259
  • Scannell, P. (1988) 'Radio Times: the temporal arrangements of broadcasting in the modern world', in Television and its audience: international research perspectives : a selection of papers from the Second International Television Studies Conference, London, 1986, London: British Film Institute.
  • Williams, Raymond. (1989) What I came to say, London: Hutchinson Radius.
  • Leavis, F. R. (1930) Mass civilisation and minority culture, Cambridge: Minority Press. vol. Minority pamphlet
  • Matt Houlbrook; Chris Waters. (2006) 'The Heart in Exile: Detachment and Desire in 1950s London', in History Workshop Journal., pp.142-165
  • Richard Hoggart. (1998) 'The Newer Mass Art', in The Uses of Literacy, New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers., pp.188-206
  • Jeffrey Richards. (1984) 'Going to the Pictures', in The age of the dream palace: cinema and society in Britain, 1930-1939, London: Routlege & K. Paul. vol. Cinema and society, pp.11-33
  • Corner, John. (1991) Popular television in Britain: studies in cultural history, London: BFI Pub.
  • Scannell, P; Cardiff, D. (1986) 'Good luck, war workers! Class, politics and entertainment in wartime broadcasting', in Popular culture and social relations, Milton Keynes: Open University Press.
  • Patricia Holland. (2015) ''Sweet it is to scan..': personal photographs and popular photography', in Photography: a critical introduction, Abingdon: Routledge., pp.142-191
  • Bennett, T. (1986) 'Hegemony, Ideology, Pleasure : Blackpool', in Popular culture and social relations, Milton Keynes: Open University Press.
  • Chambers, Iain. (1985) Urban rhythms: pop music and popular culture, Basingstoke: Macmillan. vol. Communications and culture
  • O'Sullivan, T. (1991) 'Television memories and cultures of viewing 1950-1965', in Popular television in Britain: studies in cultural history, London: BFI Pub.
  • Bill Schwarz. (2003) 'Crossing the seas', in West Indian intellectuals in Britain, Manchester: Manchester University Press. vol. Studies in imperialism, pp.1-30
  • Samuel, Raphael. (1994-98) 'Heritage baiting', in Theatres of memory, London: Verso., pp.259-273
  • Scannell, Paddy; Cardiff, David. (1991) A social history of British broadcasting, Oxford: B. Blackwell.
  • Williams, R. (1978) 'The press and popular culture: a historical perspective', in Newspaper history: from the seventeenth century to the present, Beverly Hills, Calif: Sage Publications. vol. Communication and society
  • Hebdige, Dick. (1979) Subculture, the meaning of style, London: Methuen. vol. New accents
  • Laing, Stuart. (1986) Representations of working-class life, 1957-1964, Basingstoke: Macmillan.
  • Stuart Hall; Jessica Evans; Sean Nixon. (2013) Representation, London: Sage.
  • Patrick Joyce. (1991) Visions of the People: Industrial England and the Question of Class, 1840-1914, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Martin, Graham; Waites, Bernard; Bennett, Tony. (1982) Popular culture, past and present: a reader, London: Croom Helm in association with the Open University Press.
  • Leavis, F. R. (©2009) 'Mass Civilisation and Minority Culture', in Cultural theory and popular culture: a reader, Harlow: Pearson., pp.12-19

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Essay    100% 
Exam  1440 minutes during Summer (Main Period) (Main) 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
50% 50%


Coursework Exam
50% 50%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Sean Nixon, email:
Professor Sean Nixon
Jane Harper, Undergraduate Administrator (Years 2/3), email:, telephone: 01206 873052



External examiner

Dr Aneira Edmunds
School of Law, Politics & Sociology
Senior Lecturer
Available via Moodle
Of 472 hours, 0 (0%) hours available to students:
472 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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