BA Sociology and Chinese / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Media, Culture & Society

Course unit fact file
Unit code SOCY10442
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
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; and the effects that social media including social movements' use of this 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
Paul Simpson Unit coordinator

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