Mass Media and Modern Life

The details
Sociology and Criminology
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 02 July 2021
07 October 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA LP33 Media and Digital Culture,
BA LP34 Media and Digital Culture (including Placement Year),
BA P300 Media and Digital Culture (Including Foundation Year),
BA PL33 Media and Digital Culture (including Year Abroad),
BA P540 Journalism and Sociology,
BA P541 Journalism and Sociology (Including Placement Year),
BA P542 Journalism and Sociology (Including Year Abroad),
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

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 module in particular explores the role of these new media in shaping distinctive forms of mass culture.

Module aims

A central ambition of the module 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


  • Leavis, F. R. (1930) Mass civilisation and minority culture, Cambridge: Minority Press. vol. Minority pamphlet
  • Gilroy, Paul. (1993, 1999) The black Atlantic: modernity and double consciousness, London: Verso.
  • 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
  • Williams, Raymond. (1989) What I came to say, London: Hutchinson Radius.
  • 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.
  • Lockwood, David. (no date) The ‘New Working Class’. vol. 1 (2) , pp.248-259
  • Corner, John. (1991) Popular television in Britain: studies in cultural history, London: BFI Pub.
  • McKibbin, Ross. (1998) Classes and cultures: England, 1918-1951, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Spence, Jo; Holland, Patricia. (1991) Family snaps: the meaning of domestic photography, London: Virago.
  • Patrick Joyce. (1991) Visions of the People: Industrial England and the Question of Class, 1840-1914, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Donald, James. (1992) Sentimental education: schooling, popular culture and the regulation of liberty, London: Verso.
  • O'Sullivan, T. (1991) 'Television memories and cultures of viewing 1950-1965', in Popular television in Britain: studies in cultural history, London: BFI Pub.
  • Hebdige, Dick. (1979) Subculture, the meaning of style, London: Methuen.
  • Bill Schwarz. (2003) 'Crossing the seas', in West Indian intellectuals in Britain, Manchester: Manchester University Press. vol. Studies in imperialism, pp.1-30
  • Martin, Graham; Waites, Bernard; Bennett, Tony. (1982) Popular culture, past and present: a reader, London: Croom Helm in association with the Open University Press.
  • 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
  • Smith, Shawn Michelle. (2013) At the edge of Sight: photography and the unseen: Duke University Press.
  • Crisell, Andrew. (2002) An introductory history of British broadcasting, London: Routledge.
  • Samuel, Raphael. (1994-98) 'Heritage baiting', in Theatres of memory, London: Verso., pp.259-273
  • Allen, Robert C. (2004) The Television Studies Reader: Routledge.
  • Chambers, Iain. (1985) Urban rhythms: pop music and popular culture, Basingstoke: Macmillan. vol. Communications and culture
  • Hirsch, Marianne. (1997) Family Frames: photography, narrative and postmemory: Harvard 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
  • Hall, Stuart. (1992) 'What is this 'Black'', in Black Popular Culture: Bay Press.
  • Scott, Peter. (2013-01-01) Making of the Modern British Home: The Suburban Semi and Family Life Between: Oxford University Press, USA.
  • 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
  • Leavis, F. R. (©2009) 'Mass Civilisation and Minority Culture', in Cultural theory and popular culture: a reader, Harlow: Pearson., pp.12-19
  • Iain Chambers. (1988) Popular culture: the metropolitan experience, London: Routledge.
  • Stuart Hall; Jessica Evans; Sean Nixon. (2013) Representation, London: Sage.
  • 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.
  • Laing, Stuart. (1986) Representations of working-class life, 1957-1964, Basingstoke: Macmillan.
  • 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
  • (2015) Photography: a critical introduction, Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Matt Houlbrook; Chris Waters. (2006) 'The Heart in Exile: Detachment and Desire in 1950s London', in History Workshop Journal., pp.142-165
  • Annette Kuhn. (2002) Family Secrets: Verso.
  • Scannell, Paddy; Cardiff, David. (1991) A social history of British broadcasting, Oxford: B. Blackwell.
  • Bennett, T. (1986) 'Hegemony, Ideology, Pleasure : Blackpool', in Popular culture and social relations, Milton Keynes: Open University Press.
  • Harry Pilkington. (1962) Report of the Committee on Broadcasting, 1960, London: H.M.S.O.
  • Richard Hoggart. (1998) 'The Newer Mass Art', in The Uses of Literacy, New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers., pp.188-206
  • Hebdige, Dick. (1979) Subculture, the meaning of style, London: Methuen. vol. New accents

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 Coursework weighting
Coursework   Essay 1  16/12/2020  50% 
Coursework   Essay 2   23/03/2021  50% 
Exam  Main exam: 24hr during Summer (Main Period) 

Additional coursework information

50% coursework 50% Exam 2 essays (2500 words each) (Essay 1: 25%, Essay 2: 25%); Please note that assessment information is currently showing for 2018-19 and will be updated in August 2019

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
50% 50%


Coursework Exam
50% 50%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Sean Nixon, email:
Professor Sean Nixon and Dr Michael Bailey
Jane Harper, Student Administrator, Telephone: 01206 873052 E-mail:



External examiner

Dr Aneira Edmunds
School of Law, Politics & Sociology
Senior Lecturer
Available via Moodle
Of 978 hours, 3 (0.3%) hours available to students:
975 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Sociology and Criminology

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