Search our site
Search our site

Cultural Theories of Mass and New Media

  • Module code: MD5001
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: Year 5
  • Credits: 30.00
  • Pre-requisites: Successful completion of Level 4 Media and Cultural Studies requirements or equivalent
  • Co-requisites: none

Summary

This module builds on the theoretical concepts introduced in How Media Changed the World, looking closely and in more depth at how these concepts emerged and developed in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and examines their utility in the understanding and analysis of contemporary media and communication cultures. The module is in two parts, in the first semester we consider how various theories of media and culture have responded to social, political and technological change. In the second semester the module explores some of the key issues surrounding the digitisation of the media and how this has transformed work, leisure and various cultural forms and practices, such as art and popular music. Through practical application of these theories we will test their pertinence and utility through analyses of contemporary media, culture, texts and practices.

Aims

  • To enable students to develop and refine their knowledge and understanding of major theories of media and culture and to critically evaluate them.
  • To enhance students' ability to analyse mass and new media, analogue and digital forms of culture through the application of theoretically-informed frameworks, insights and debates.
  • To review contemporary debates about digital culture and its social impacts.
  • To enable students to form theoretical positions on the contemporary relationship between media aesthetics, economics and politics and to present informed arguments about the future direction of media cultures and their theoretical context.

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a range theories related to the understanding of mass and new media and culture.
  • Display critical skills in comparing and evaluating theories of, and debates concerned with, media and culture.
  • Demonstrate the ability to utilise theoretical concepts, frameworks and debates in their analyses of mass and new media and culture.
  • Assess the historical, contemporary and possible future importance of digital media for society.
  • Demonstrate the ability to work to pre-determined tasks and to think, analyze and write within a specific time period.

Curriculum content

  • Marxism and ideology / Adorno & the Frankfurt School
  • Public sphere / Habermas
  • Psychoanalysis / Freud & Lacan
  • Semiotics / Barthes & Pierce
  • Feminism and the Screen / Rose, Mulvey, Heath
  • Discourse and Power / Foucault & Butler
  • Cultural studies and subcultures / Hall & Hebdige
  • Audiences / Moore
  • Postcolonialism / Said & Bhabha
  • How Media Became New / Manovich
  • Simulation and hyperreality / McLuhan to Baudrillard
  • Technological determinism / McLuhan to Kittler
  • Social Media and Web 2.0
  • New media art
  • Remediation/ Bolter & Grusin
  • Hypertextual narratives/ G.P. Landow
  • Electronic literature/ K Hayles
  • Remix culture / L.Lessig
  • Data Visualisation
  • Digital public spheres
  • Digital sound and Afrofuturism
  • Video games and rhythm
  • Mash ups and social media
  • New media romance and social robots / Lacan to Turkle

Teaching and learning strategy

The module will be delivered through a programme of weekly two-hour seminar and one-hour lecture focusing on selected theories/-ists and perspectives. Lectures will provide both systematic explanation, drawing on a background of assigned reading, and practical demonstration of the application of theory to examples: texts, objects and practices. The lecture- will track the historical development of the key concepts and ideas that have formed the canon of media and cultural studies. These ideas will be practically tested in workshop and seminar group discussion conditions. Seminars will also offer students the opportunity to get feedback on the development of their knowledge and understanding on the module.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive KIS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Lecture 22
Scheduled learning and teaching Seminars 44
Guided independent study Independent Learning 234
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to ensure that students adequately cover the range of material on the module and develop their skills of understanding and analysis.

Formative assessment is conducted in seminars in the second half of each teaching bloc and consists of in-class group presentations on a set topic.

The take home exam is a close reading exercise, which will require both the demonstration of theoretical understanding and the practical application to set examples, will be prepared in set exercises during the lecture-workshops. It will also develop students' ability to test the relevance, pertinence and utility of concepts and ensure breadth of knowledge and understanding is achieved in preparation for the more research-based assessment at the end of teaching block two which will take the form of a 2,000 word essay.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a range theories related to the understanding of mass and new media and culture. The workshop close reading exercises and in-class presentations will formatively assess this learning outcome, and the take home examination will provide the summative assessment for this learning outcome; together they will ensure that students develop knowledge and understanding of a range of theories and their practical applications.
Display critical skills in comparing and evaluating theories of, and debates concerned with, media and culture. The workshops will formatively assess this learning outcome, and take home examination will provide the summative assessment point of this learning outcome as questions will require students to compare and evaluate the usefulness of different theoretical approaches in their answers.
Demonstrate the ability to utilise theoretical concepts, frameworks and debates in their analyses of mass and new media and culture. This will be assessed formatively in the close reading and group presentations workshop exercises and summatively by the exam and essay.
Assess the historical, contemporary and possible future importance of digital media for society. This will be assessed formatively in the workshops and summatively by the essay.
Demonstrate the ability to work to pre-determined tasks and to think, analyse and write within a specific time period. The ability to work, think and analyse in short time periods will be developed in the workshop exercises. The end of semester take home exam will require students to demonstrate that they can respond to pre-set tasks and think, analyse and write within a specific time period.

Breakdown of Major Categories of Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment Name Assessment Weighting
PRC Take Home Test 2000 Words 40
CWK Essay 2000 Words 60
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

It IS NOT a requirement that any major assessment category is passed separately in order to achieve an overall pass for the module

Bibliography core texts

  • Laughey, D. (2007) Key Concepts in Media Theory, Maidenhead: McGraw Hill
  • Marris, P. & Thornham,S, (eds) (2009) (3rd edn) Media Studies: A Reader, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press
  • Noah W. F. & Montfort, N. (2003). The New Media Reader. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press

Bibliography recommended reading

  • Ashcroft, B. (et. al) (2000) Post-Colonial Studies: The Key Concepts, London: Routledge
  • Balnaves, M. Hemelryk Donald, S. Shoesmith, B. (2009) Media Theories and Approaches: A Global Perspective, Basingstoke: Palgrave
  • Bell, D.& Kennedy, B.M. (eds), 2000. The Cybercultures Reader, RoutledgeBolter
  • Curran, J. & Morely, D. (eds) (2006) Media and Cultural Theory, London: Routledge
  • Creeber, G. & Martin, R. (eds) (2007) Digital Cultures. Maidenhead: Open University Press
  • Fisher, E. (2010). Media and New Capitalism in the Digital Age: The Spirit of Networks. Palgrave MacmillanHansen
  • J.D. (2000). Remediation: Understanding New Media. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
  • Lievrouw, A.L. (2009). New media. Sage
  • Manovich, L (2001).The Language of New Media, MIT Press
  • Noah W. F. & Montfort, N. (2003). The New Media Reader. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
  • Palfrey, J. (2008). Born Digital. Basic Books
  • Rose, G. (2001) ‘Psychoanalysis: visual culture, visual pleasure, visual disruption' in Visual Methodologies London: Sage, pp. 100-34
  • Scannell, P. (2007) Media and Communication London: Sage pp. 233-259
  • Sturken, M and Cartwright, L. (2003) ‘Practices of Looking: Images, Power, and Politics' in Practices of Looking: an Introduction to Visual Culture Oxford: Oxford UP, pp. 10-44

Find a course

Course finder

>
Undergraduate study
Site menu