BASS Social Anthropology and Criminology

Year of entry: 2021

Coronavirus information for applicants and offer-holders

We understand that prospective students and offer-holders may have concerns about the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The University is following the advice from Universities UK, Public Health England and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Read our latest coronavirus information

Course unit details:
Media, Culture & Society

Unit code SOCY10442
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Sociology
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The course examines a series of concepts that are key to understanding modern society: The ideas of culture; ideology and hegemony; discourse; media aesthetics, and digital convergence are all examined in depth. Class discussions investigate the history of communications techniques; the implication of media in the workings of power in modern societies; the politics of media aesthetics; the role of audiences in shaping media, and the impact of digital technologies. Specific examples are introduced to clarify the main ideas, including: the printing press; nineteenth century visual entertainments; early and the effects that social media is having on various aspects of social life.


' To interrogate common sense assumptions of media influence against sociological explanations of the way the media works.
- To introduce the critical analysis of media and cultural forms through the study of industries and organizations, public discourse and politics, technology, and subcultures.
- To introduce key concepts, such as 'representation', 'ideology', 'political economy', 'consumer culture'.
- To understand the relationship between the state, media and the public
- To develop an appreciation of the significance of media and culture in contemporary social and political life.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit students will be able to:
- comprehend and critically analyse the development of media and culture in sociological perspective.
- Situate contemporary phenomena within the broader problematic of modernity.
- Identify social and political dimensions within contemporary media artefacts.
- Make imaginative and critical use of ideas and concepts to develop arguments.

Teaching and learning methods

Lecture-style material will be delivered weekly through a mix of up to one hour pre-recorded (i.e. asynchronous) content and one hour live (i.e. synchronous) lecturer-led classes. Additionally, weekly one hour small-group tutorials will be delivered on-campus as long as government guidelines allow, otherwise they will be delivered online.

Assessment methods


1x formative essay plan, to be marked by TAs. 

1x 1500 word essay constituting 50% of the overall mark,

1x ‘short’ exam (i.e. 1 hr / 1 answer, 1500 words as guidance if online); 50% of mark.

Feedback methods

 All sociology courses include both formative feedback – which lets you know how you’re getting on and what you could do to improve – and summative feedback – which gives you a mark for your assessed work.

Recommended reading

Barker, C. (2000 & 2008) Cultural Studies: Theory and Practice London: Sage.
Branston, G. & Stafford, R. (1999 & 2003) The Media Student's Book London: Routledge.
Fleming, D. (2000) (ed.) Formations: A 21st Century Media Studies Textbook Manchester University Press.
Inglis, D & Hughson, J. (2003) Confronting Culture: Sociological Vistas London: Polity
Kellner, D. (1995) Media Culture: cultural studies, identity and politics between the modern and the postmodern London: Routledge.
Lewis, J. (2002) Cultural Studies: The Basics London: Sage
Storey, J. (2000) Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: An Introduction, Prentice Hall

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 20
Tutorials 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 168

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Owen Abbott Unit coordinator

Return to course details