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,
MSC L31124 Migration Studies

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.


  • Jürgen Habermas. (2006) 'The Public Sphere: An Encyclopedia Article', in Media and cultural studies: keyworks, Malden, MA: Blackwell. vol. 2, pp.73-78
  • 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
  • Lyotard, Jean-François. (c2001) The postmodern condition: a report on knowledge, Manchester: Manchester University Press. vol. Theory and history of literature
  • Collins, J. (1999) 'Television and Postmodernism', in Media studies: a reader, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press., pp.375-384
  • Bennett, Tony. (c1998) Culture: a reformer's science, London: Sage. vol. Cultural & media policy
  • Hall, Stuart; Evans, Jessica; Nixon, Sean. (2013) Representation, London: Sage.
  • Barthes, Roland; Lavers, Annette; Reynolds, Sian. (2009) Mythologies, London: Vintage. vol. Vintage Classics
  • Milner, Andrew; Browitt, Jeff. (2002) Contemporary cultural theory: an introduction, London: Routledge.
  • Guins, Raiford; Cruz, Omayra Zaragoza. (2005) Popular culture: a reader, London: SAGE.
  • Adorno, Theodor W.; Bernstein, J. M.; EBSCOhost ebook collection. (2001) The culture industry: selected essays on mass culture, New York: Routledge. vol. Routledge classics
  • During, Simon. (2007) The cultural studies reader, London: Routledge.
  • Williams, Raymond. (2001) The Raymond Williams reader, Oxford: Blackwell. vol. Blackwell readers
  • (2009) Cultural theory and popular culture: a reader, Harlow: Pearson.
  • 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
  • (2004) 'Difference', in A critical and cultural theory reader, Maidenhead: Open University Press., pp.113-119
  • 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
  • de Saussure, F. (2004) 'Course in General Linguistics', in A critical and cultural theory reader, Maidenhead: Open University Press., pp.11-5
  • (2005) New keywords: a revised vocabulary of culture and society, Malden, MA: Blackwell.
  • Said, Edward W. (1995) Orientalism, Harmondsworth: Penguin.
  • Bennett, T. (1986) 'Popular Culture and the 'Turn to Gramsci', in Popular culture and social relations, Milton Keynes: Open University Press., pp.xi-xix
  • Garnham, Nicholas. (c1992) 'The Media & the Public Sphere', in Habermas and the public sphere, Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press., pp.359-376
  • (2015) Introducing gender and women's studies, London: Palgrave.
  • (2008) Modern criticism and theory: a reader, Harlow: Pearson Longman.
  • McGuigan, Jim. (1996) Culture and the public sphere, London: Routledge.
  • Rowbotham, Sheila; Segal, Lynne; Wainwright, Hilary. (2013) Beyond the fragments: feminism and the making of socialism, Pontypool, Wales: Merlin Press.
  • Said, Edward. (c2010) 'Introduction from Orientalism', in The Norton anthology of theory and criticism, New York: W. W. Norton & Co., pp.1866-1888
  • Hall, S. (c1986) 'Cultural Studies: Two Paradigms', in Media, culture and society: a critical reader, London: Sage., pp.33-48
  • Gramsci, A. (1981) 'Antonio Gramsci', in Culture, ideology and social process: a reader, London: Batsford in association with the Open University Press., pp.191-218

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   Reading Assignments    20% 
Coursework   Essay  20/01/2021  80% 

Additional coursework information

You will create your own essay title in consultation with your tutors on the module 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
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 1264 hours, 0 (0%) hours available to students:
1264 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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