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Identity and Difference

  • Module code: MD5005
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: Year 5
  • Credits: 30.00
  • Pre-requisites: Successful completion of Level 4 MCS or equivalent
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

This module introduces major theories in media and cultural studies in order to explore the ways in which different social groups – different ‘identities'– are represented in the media. The module examines both mainstream and alternative media representations of gender and sexuality, ‘race' and ethnicity, social class and national identity, amongst others. These are approached through theories that focus on the significance of ideas of ‘identity', ‘difference', ‘culture', and ‘ideology' in these representations. The module also addresses the ways in which the media address different audience groups in terms of their gender/sexuality, class, and ‘race'/ethnicity and explores the extent to which the media define the interests, activities, and characteristics of these audiences.

The module is divided into three blocks. The first block provides a general introduction to theories of identity, representative examples of selected identity groups. The second block will concentrate in detail on selected identity formations: gender/sexuality and ‘race'/ethnicity. In the third block students will participate in a series of research methodology workshops, shared across all the media options, which will equip them with the skills required to conduct their own independent research assignment.

In summary, this module will examine:

  • Concepts and theories concerning the study of identity in popular media
  • The representations and ‘constructions' of identities in both mainstream and alternative media
  • The way popular media target certain audiences in terms of different aspects of their identity 

Aims

The main aims of the module are to:

  • Develop students' understanding of contemporary theoretical approaches to the study of identity and representation in the media
  • Clarify the concepts of gender and sexuality, 'race' and ethnicity, social class and national identity, amongst others, in terms of established dichotomies of identity and difference
  • Critically interrogate representations and constructions of dominant forms of identity in popular media and transgressive forms of identity in alternative media
  • Discuss these representations in relation to major theories that underline the importance of concepts of identity, culture and ideology
  • Explore the ways in which the media address audiences in terms of different aspects of their identity and investigate the extent to which these media ‘construct' the needs, desires, and lifestyles of these audiences 
  • Enable students to confidently build and manage independent research

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module students will have:

  • Examine contemporary theoretical approaches to the study of identity and representation in the media
  • Familiarise themselves with the concepts of gender and sexuality, 'race' and ethnicity, social class, and national identity, amongst others, in terms of established dichotomies of identity and difference
  • Develop critical skills for interrogating representations and constructions of dominant forms of identity in popular media and transgressive forms of identity in alternative media
  • Understand the relation of these representations to major theories that underline the importance of concepts of identity, culture and ideology
  • Explore the ways in which the media address audiences in terms of different aspects of their identity and considered the extent to these media ‘construct' the needs, desires, and lifestyles of these audiences 
  • Design and carry out a piece of independent research.

Curriculum content

 BLOCK 1: Theories of identity

  • Identity and Representation: Discourse, Power, Knowledge
  • National Identity
  • Music, youth and subcultures
  • Identity, Production, Consumption: From ‘Class' to ‘Style'

BLOCK 2: Identity formations in practice

  • Gender and sexuality : masculinities, femininities, queer theory, transgression, power and pleasure
  • Race: constructing ‘Blackness', constructing ‘whiteness', colonialism and post-colonialism, religion, media and minority ethnic representation

BLOCK 3: Research Methods

  • Content analysis
  • Critical discourse analysis
  • Multi-modal analysis
  • Interviews
  • Media ethnographies

Teaching and learning strategy

The module is organised around weekly two-hour lecture/workshops. These will introduce students to theoretical and historical frameworks on the construction and representation of identities, drawing on a background of weekly assigned readings, and will provide opportunities for the application of theories and concepts to case studies and examples for group discussion. In-class exercises will allow students to engage with and work through ideas further in relation to assigned reading tasks.

In the second teaching block, students will attend a series of plenary workshops which will equip them with the  skills and competencies necessary to undertake a short independent research assignment. Students will attend  individual and group tutorials to support their individual research and take part in work in progress seminars where they will present their work to their peers for review and feedback.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive KIS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Lecture/ workshops Seminars 32
Guided independent study Independent Study 268
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

The assessment is designed to test a number of skills and areas of knowledge. The first assignment will test students' knowledge of key concepts, theories and debates related to the study of media, identity and difference. The second assignment will require students to draw on their knowledge and understanding of the subject area, together with the skills and knowledge developed through the plenary workshops in order to devise and carry out a short independent research project.

Assessment for the module will consist of:

A)    Essay 1500 words: (40%) The essay will draw upon the debates covered in the taught component of the module. In order to help  prepare their essays, students will be asked to fill in a draft proposal form that will be available online on SS by w.8. Individual tutorials will be held to discuss proposals, which will form the formative feedback for students' essays.

B)    Essay draft –this exercise is designed to provide students with formative feedback on their work. It will be mandatory, and will be a prerequisite for the submission of the essay, but it will not contribute to the grading for the module.

C)    2500 word Research Assignment (60%)

This exercise is designed to enable students build a small scale independent research project related to the study of consumer culture and  utilizing one of the research methods delivered in the plenary workshops. Students will complete a research plan, in consultation with their module tutor, attend group and individual tutorials to monitor and support their progress and present at a work in progress seminar where they will receive feedback from peers and tutor in advance of the final submission.

 

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
Examine contemporary theoretical approaches to the study of identity and representation in the media Assessed formatively through discussion and Essay Draft and summatively through the Essay and Research project
Familiarise themselves with the concepts of gender and sexuality, 'race' and ethnicity, social class, and national identity, amongst others, in terms of established dichotomies of identity and difference Assessed formatively through discussion and Essay Draft and summatively through the Essay and Research Project
Develop critical skills for interrogating representations and constructions of dominant forms of identity in popular media and transgressive forms of identity in alternative media Assessed formatively through discussion and Essay Draft and summatively through the Essay and Research Project
Understand the relation of these representations to major theories that underline the importance of concepts of identity, culture and ideology Assessed formatively through discussion and Essay Draft and summatively through the Essay and Research Project
Explore the ways in which the media address audiences in terms of different aspects of their identity and consider the extent to these media construct the needs, desires, and lifestyles of these audiences Assessed formatively through discussion and Essay Draft and summatively through the Essay
Enable students to confidently build and manage independent research Assessed formatively through discussion and Essay Draft and summatively through the Research Project

Breakdown of Major Categories of Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment Name Assessment Weighting
CWK 1,500 words essay 40
CWK 2,500 word independent research assignment 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

Selections from the following textbooks

Hall, S., Nixon, S. and Evans, J. (eds.) (2013) Representation: Cultural Representation and Signifying Practices, 2nd edition. London: Sage.

Helsby. W. et. al. (eds.) (2005) Understanding Representation.London: BFI.

Woodward, K. (ed.) (2000) Questioning Identity: Gender, Class, Nation. London: Routledge.

Bibliography recommended reading

Aronowitz, S. (1991) The Politics of Identity: Class, Culture, Social Movements. London: Routledge.

Dyer, R. (2002) The Matter of Images: Essays on Representation. London: Routledge

Hall, S. and Du Gay, P. (eds.) Questions of Cultural Identity. London: Sage.

Macdonald, M. (2003) Exploring Media Discourse. London: Hodder and Stoughton.

Maalouf, A. (2000) On Identity.London: Harvill Panther.

Pickering, M. (2001) Stereotyping: The Politics of Representation. Basingstoke: Palgrave

Rutherford, J. (ed.) (1990) Identity: Community, Culture, Difference. London: Lawrence & Wishart.

Strinati, D. (2000) An Introduction to Studying Popular Culture. London: Routledge.

Weedon, C. (2004) Identity and Culture: Narratives of Difference and Belonging. Berkshire: Open University Press.

Woodward, K. (1997) Identity and Difference. London: Sage.

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