Media Theory

The details
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 18 December 2020
29 June 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MA NP5312 Advertising, Marketing and the Media,
MA NP53MO Advertising, Marketing and the Media

Module description

The module is designed to give students an advanced understanding of media theory.

Module aims

It will provide a critical survey of competing approaches to popular culture, the public sphere, cultural representations and signifying practices, cultural politics and identity, cultural regulation, cultural imperialism, and multiculturalism. The module places a strong emphasis on encouraging students to consider their own positions as both consumers and analysts of media and cultural texts.

Module learning outcomes

At the end of the module students will be able to:

* Demonstrate knowledge of the different theoretical traditions which have influenced the study of the media and popular culture.
* Demonstrate an understanding of the ways in which different theoretical approaches to the media and popular culture constitute different objects of study.
* Demonstrate an understanding of the factors which influence the development of cultural theory.
* Produce written work exhibiting a capacity for reflective and synthesising thought at an advanced undergraduate level.
* Demonstrate an awareness of their own positions as consumers and analysts of media and popular culture.

Module information

Please note that assessment information is currently showing for 2019-20 and will be updated in September.

Course outline:
Week 1 Introduction: Digital Media and Social Theory
Week 2 Media as Practice
Week 3 Media as Ritual and Social Form
Week 4 Media and the Hidden Shaping of the Social
Week 5 Network Society, Networked Politics?
Week 6 Reading Week
Week 7 Media and the Transformation of Capital and Authority
Week 8 Media Cultures: A World Unfolding
Week 9 Media Ethics, Media Justice
Week 10 Revision Session

Learning and teaching methods

Teaching is mainly by seminars, with some lecture input within the seminars. Seminars provide a forum in which the emphasis is on discussion of readings and examples, allowing students to examine points arising from the literature and any lectures in some depth. The seminars also give students opportunities to develop their skills in oral communication, argument and analysis, and as the module proceeds you will increasingly be expected to prepare introductions or discussion papers in advance.


  • (2009) Cultural theory and popular culture: a reader, Harlow: Pearson.
  • Collins, J. (1999) 'Television and Postmodernism', in Media studies: a reader, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press., pp.375-384
  • Said, Edward W. (1995) Orientalism, Harmondsworth: Penguin.
  • Garnham, Nicholas. (c1992) 'The Media & the Public Sphere', in Habermas and the public sphere, Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press., pp.359-376
  • (2005) New keywords: a revised vocabulary of culture and society, Malden, MA: Blackwell.
  • Said, Edward. (c2010) 'Introduction from Orientalism', in The Norton anthology of theory and criticism, New York: W. W. Norton & Co., pp.1866-1888
  • Williams, Raymond. (2001) The Raymond Williams reader, Oxford: Blackwell. vol. Blackwell readers
  • Milner, Andrew; Browitt, Jeff. (2002) Contemporary cultural theory: an introduction, London: Routledge.
  • Rowbotham, Sheila; Segal, Lynne; Wainwright, Hilary. (2013) Beyond the fragments: feminism and the making of socialism, Pontypool, Wales: Merlin Press.
  • Jürgen Habermas. (2006) 'The Public Sphere: An Encyclopedia Article', in Media and cultural studies: keyworks, Malden, MA: Blackwell. vol. 2, pp.73-78
  • Bennett, Tony. (c1998) Culture: a reformer's science, London: Sage. vol. Cultural & media policy
  • Williams, Raymond. (c1976) Keywords: a vocabulary of culture and society, London: Fontana.
  • Corner, J. (1991-04-01) 'Studying culture: reflections and assessments. An interview with Richard Hoggart', in Media, Culture & Society. vol. 13 (2) , pp.137-151
  • Guins, Raiford; Cruz, Omayra Zaragoza. (2005) Popular culture: a reader, London: SAGE.
  • Lyotard, Jean-François. (c2001) The postmodern condition: a report on knowledge, Manchester: Manchester University Press. vol. Theory and history of literature
  • Crenshaw, Kimberle. (1991) 'Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color', in Stanford Law Review. vol. 43 (6) , pp.1241-1299
  • During, Simon. (2007) The cultural studies reader, London: Routledge.
  • McGuigan, Jim. (1996) Culture and the public sphere, London: Routledge.
  • (2015) Introducing gender and women's studies, London: Palgrave.
  • Thompson, E. P. (1968) The making of the English working class, Harmondsworth: Penguin. vol. Pelican books
  • Tomlinson, J. (1997) 'Internationalism, Globalisation and Cultural Imperialism', in Media and cultural regulation, London: Sage in association with the Open University. vol. Culture, media and identities
  • (2004) 'Difference', in A critical and cultural theory reader, Maidenhead: Open University Press., pp.113-119
  • (2008) Modern criticism and theory: a reader, Harlow: Pearson Longman.

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% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Michael Bailey, email:
Michael Bailey
Michele Hall, Graduate Administrator, Telephone 01206 873051, Email:



External examiner

Dr Umut Erel
Open University
Senior Lecturer
Available via Moodle
Of 20 hours, 20 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

Disclaimer: The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its Module Directory is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to programmes, modules, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to modules may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery or assessment of modules and other services, to discontinue modules and other services and to merge or combine modules. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications and module directory.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.