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Media and Global Politics BA(Hons)

Attendance UCAS code Year of entry
3 years full time PLH2 2019
4 years full time including sandwich year PLH4 2019
6 years part time Apply direct to University 2019

Why choose this course?

It's impossible to understand modern politics without examining the central role mass and social media play in political processes. Whether it's the recent elections in the UK, Donald Trump's use of Twitter, or political protests, environmental campaigns or even consumer boycotts, media is at the heart of communicating different political projects, visions, ideals and aspirations in an increasingly globalised world.

This media and global politics degree is different from others because it equips you with a mixed set of knowledge, analytical and practical skills. Media practice modules and practical assessments encourage you to engage with mediated politics critically, as consumers and also as producers of those communicative flows.

This course examines how contemporary media is shaping politics and how media is shaped by political interests. You'll critically examine media's moral responsibility to help envision our world as a more democratic, fairer and better place.

What you will study

In addition to developing your intellectual and social skills, this degree will give you practical experience beyond the classroom. Through live assessments in practical media options you'll produce media briefs; the work placement options allow you to spend a summer in industry, or take a sandwich year within your degree to gain employment experience.

Module listing

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list. Those listed here may also be a mixture of core and optional modules.

Year 1 (Level 4)

  • This module provides an introduction to some of the major strands in radical political thought, in both their historical and contemporary contexts. We will be looking at some of those ideas and ideologies which have emerged throughout recent history, and which have sought to bring about widespread political, social and economic reform. We will be examining the ideas themselves, and the ways in which they were seeking a fundamental change in the existing system. We will also be placing the ideas in the particular political and social contexts of their time, and will study some of the people and movements who have been key in developing these radical arguments. However, we will also focus on the contemporary relevance of radical thought, and consider whether these ideas have purchase in today's world. As such, this module is well-suited to both Politics and History students, and forms a core module for all those taking Politics, International Relations and Human Rights.

    This module is also aimed at preparing new students for their time at university, and will provide advice and training regarding academic skills and personal development.

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  • A key part of a journalist's role is to inform readers what is going on in the world. To do this well, journalists have to understand how the world works and why. This module aims to build on existing understanding to provide students with the necessary political, economic, historical social and cultural context to underpin their development as journalists. Areas for exploration and discussion will include Britain's role in the world; the UK's relationship with Europe, the US and the developing world; British institutions and their role and influence (including the monarchy, parliament, the judiciary, Whitehall, religious bodies, universities, local government, banks and finance houses) and the history and emergence of competing ideologies such as capitalism, socialism and liberalism. The module will explore emerging social and cultural trends and the way these are covered in the media. Underpinning the module will be the key questions of "Where does power lie?" "Who has control?" "Who is responsible?" "Who really runs things?"

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  • This module sets out to explore the historical development of media technologies over time spanning written, visual and electronic forms. It introduces key themes and concepts that frame the study of media and culture and locates these within their social,political and cultural contexts. The module also serves to identify and explorethe essential skills required for successful undergraduate study.

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  • This module aims to acquaint students with historical and contemporary digital media practices and design principles as a basis for developing media communication skills.  Students will develop visual thinking, software skills and, an understanding of the range of digital media production by selectively experimenting with digital form and content. The module also provides students with the opportunity to bring knowledge from other modules and apply it to their digital artefact.

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Year 2 (Level 5)

  • ‘Development' is a troublesome term. While the notion of development as a discrete project for improving human well-being emerged in the aftermath of World War II, the notion of making planned interventions towards ‘social progress' and the ‘greater good' arose much earlier, in step with the global system itself. Whilst the post-war development project seems now to be in jeopardy, there is still little consensus over what development actually is: whether it is a ‘one size fits all' measure of progress, or whether more than one path is possible, and desirable; whether development as a project is meant to include everybody or whether it necessarily involves ‘winners and losers'; what scale and conception of society and economy we're talking about; how current projects relate to more long-standing processes and structures that gave rise to the global system; and whether in fact development goals (however defined) should intersect with an ethics of social justice, equity and equality, and anti-oppression.

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  • With the rise of populist forms of nationalism in the wake of the crisis in globalized finance capitalism, the phenomenon of 'globalization' is increasingly contested. This contestation, however, continues to take place on a variety of new media platforms as nation states struggle to contain popular unrest and the international challenge of both the worldwideweb and the 'dark web'. In the field of international relations, politics and war takes place as much in the media as on the ground, control of communications systems being essential to the exercise of power and the establishment of dominant ideologies. In this module, we explore the debates around the political role of media in the age of global communications. Beginning with an introduction to theories of communication and information that were developed in the context of global conflict, particularly Bell Labs in WWII, we go on to examine the political, social, cultural and moral issues that arise as new forms of communication become increasingly important platforms for domestic and international media companies, national security, political contestation, economic exploitation, and social resistance.  

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  • Available options will vary each year depending on staff specialism.

    • 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 culture. 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.

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    • This module enables students to gain an understanding of the structure of contemporary media industries and the position of media professionals within these. Students will develop an understanding of the distinctive features of media industries and the economic, political, regulatory and cultural factors which shape these. The module starts with an interrogation of key concepts, categories and debates and then moves through into detailed case studies of selected media industries and professional pathways. Students will be able to investigate particular media industries of their choice in their assessment. In addition, students will have the opportunity to enhance their knowledge and understanding of the contemporary media workplace through undertaking a short period of work experience in a media organisation and use this as the basis for some of their assessment. 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.

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    • This module is a Level 5 option that introduces students to the multi-faceted entity called 'Europe' and looks at key political, social and cultural trends in today Europe, including its geo-political role in a globalised world. Teaching block one focuses on political parties and party families, the growth of populism and of xenophobic parties. Attention is also paid to changing patterns of political participation and the rise of protest politics, which is analysed via a variety of case studies such as environmental organisations, feminist groups and student anti-tuition fees protest. Teaching block two starts by asking a key question: what is Europe? followed by equally important questions such as how Europeans feel about Europe today? Why is Euro-scepticism on the rise throughout Europe? It also investigates European integration and European Union enlargement: does an integrated Europe still make sense as a political project? Was the euro a good idea? Should Turkey be part of the EU? By posing these questions, the module attempts to capture different voices of contemporary Europe in order to equip students with solid grounding to make sense of what is happening in the contemporary world.

      The module will be delivered through lectures and seminars.

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    • Crime, Media, and Policy is designed to provide second year undergraduate students with a critical introduction to the field of crime and the media.  The module provides a historical foundation to the subject before reviewing key media and criminological debates against twenty-first century concerns about crime and deviance. The syllabus develops to explore criminological theory, crime in media culture and the complex interactions between consumers and producers.  The module is designed to provide students with the knowledge, understanding and skills to critically engage with debates about crime news reporting, media and moral panic, media constructions of women and children, crime fiction, film and television crime drama, crime and surveillance society, and crime online.  Direction to core factual material and substantive material will be provided via Canvas, with weekly lectures and seminars used to explain and explore key concepts, and present visual material for dissemination and discussion.   

      On completion of the module you should be able to demonstrate that you have an understanding of the concepts of crime and deviance within the media, and the ability to engage critically with debates and developments within this controversial sphere of criminological theory and public policy. You should also be able to undertake a content analysis and show that you can apply appropriate context and theory to set questions on crime, media and associated policy.

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    • This module is a core requirement for students taking Human Rights at level 5, and can also be taken as an option by students in related fields. The module introduces the contested and evolving relationships between the theory and practice of securing human rights.

      It starts with an overview of key frameworks and mechanisms designed to secure rights at the international, regional and domestic levels.  A central feature of the module is to introduce key critical themes, from which issues can be dissected and analysed through a range of contemporary and international case-studies.

      Themes may include:

      • Human Rights, Security and Forced Migration', which analyses the way in which the issue of forced migration brings together a variety of legal, political and security debates.
      • The Politics of Human Rights in Development', which examines the recent convergence of the fields of human rights and development (inclusive of ‘the right to development' and the proliferation of ‘rights-based approaches to development').
      • Rights in the aftermath? Truth, Justice and Reconciliation', which examines the globalization of transitional justice discourses and the propagation of different mechanisms (ranging from International Criminal Tribunals, to national truth commissions, to local justice initiatives).
      • And, ‘Indigenous Peoples, Rights and Beyond' that engages with central issues surrounding indigenous peoples' claims, whilst also probing the gravity of particular contested issues (such as ‘the right to self-determination' and broader ‘sovereignty' challenges).

      The module concludes by asking: what is the future for human rights? 

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    • This module is a core module for Full-Field Politics & International Relations students and Half-Field Politics students. It can be taken as an option by Half-Field International Relations and Human Rights students.

      The module offers a critical introduction to the foundations of modern political thought. It is organised around an examination of the work of several major political philosophers and the concepts associated with their writings. Beginning with an exploration the origins of modern political theory in Machiavelli, it goes on to look at debates about of human nature, the state, and property within social contract theory, and the development of political thought in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries by thinkers such as Mill, Marx, and Rawls. The module will examine a number of core political concepts, including freedom, justice, gender, equality, democracy, and tolerance, and address the central questions of moral and political philosophy: How should we act? How can we live together? Why should we obey the state? Throughout the module students will be encouraged both to challenge the arguments and assumptions of the thinkers that they study and to consider their contemporary relevance.

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    • This practical module aims to develop students' skills and abilities to produce digital products - audio, video, games, images - in a way that meets contemporary audiences' changing expectations. Students will consider how digital technology can be used to deliver media in the most compelling ways, and analyse how digital storytelling is altering both audiences and the wider media industry. The module aims to provide students with the specialist vocabulary, concepts and skills required for the use of digital storytelling in a variety of professional contexts such as commercial and educational campaigns and the interactive media industries.

      Students will consider the short history and emergence of digital storytelling by looking at case studies from various media such as news, television and the internet. They will look at the role of digital storytelling in narrative theory, such as the representation of narrative action, plot and character, and the use of words, images and sound as narrative devices. They will learn how to apply this knowledge to their own media production projects.

      Methods for the formal presentation of plans for digital stories such as storyboards and structure diagrams will be covered. Students will learn skills in identifying a story with strong audio visual potential and how to grab the attention of the audience. They will further develop competence in recording audio, shooting photography and video, animation, building interactive games and incorporating powerful narrative into the production edit.

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    • This module aims to acquaint students with the practices associated with contemporary Digital Media Production. Students will be presented with 2 options: Media Production or Project Management and will be expected to engage in a small group project to select and experiment with digital form and content. The primary deliverable will be to create a Multi-Media website and to populate this site with a variety of media: short videos, infographics, advertising, interactive displays or artistic expressions. The module will also provide students with an opportunity to bring knowledge from other modules and apply it to their digital artifact.

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Year 3 (Level 6)

  • This module gives final year students the opportunity to work on a major piece of independent work, which consolidates and further develops the skills and knowledge they have acquired across the whole of their degree, in an area of applied practice; workplace problem solving, or dissertation research.  Students will organize an end of year exhibition and symposium event specifically to showcase their work. In doing so, they will develop their critical analytical and transferable employability skills.  Students will focus on one of the following: a Dissertation; a Final Major Project (FMP) or, an Applied Research Problem Brief (ARPB).  The main feature of the module is that work carried out in one of these three areas will lead to real and specific outputs.  Where students choose to write a Dissertation they will present their main findings at the symposium; students choosing a FMP will be able showcase their work online and at exhibition; students choosing an ARPB will implement their solutions in the field and have the potential to develop consultancy skills.  Students will enter into learning contracts and will work independently under the guidance of a supervisor. 

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  • Available options will vary each year depending on staff specialism.

    • This module seeks to synthesize and draw together your understanding of theoretical and contextual approaches to the interpretation of media and culture you have learnt about in the first two years of the degree and enable you to apply this in an analysis of contemporary issues, practices and debates. This heightened understanding of theory will, at the same time, enhance your analysis of the contemporary issues and concerns reviewed in the module.

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    • The module offers students the opportunity to gain an understanding of what it is like to work within the media industries. Students will arrange and carryout a period of work experience within a media organisation working in a professional environment. The placement will typically be for two weeks, and usually completed over the summer period, although students who show initiative in negotiating more substantial work experience will be able to extend this. This practical hands-on experience will be supported in the classroom where students will be encouraged to reflect on their experience, evaluate their skills and plan for future in relation to graduate employability. Students will also locate and evaluate their experience in relation to wider debates and issues relating to work in the media industries, changing production contexts and new professional identities.

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    • This special study module is an introduction to political communication from the lens of hybrid media environments. It enables students to examine the new research agenda and the emerging practices in this field of study beyond the limits of the media effects approach applied to traditional or mass media. The topics covered on the module are partly linked with the research interests and projects of teaching staff and will enable students to benefit from research-informed teaching in their final year of study. Students will undertake extensive exploration of the new challenges facing political communication in multi-platform contexts, drawing on pertinent theoretical debates and current media stories. Students will deliver an assessed presentation, and produce an extended and focused practice-based or essay-based project on a particular topic negotiated with the module leader.

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    • This special study examines art / media management and production in relation to opportunities and challenges posed in the current digital landscape. Students are able to familiarise themselves with how projects are managed; rights management issues, defining and understanding rights in the context of their own topical areas of interest; professional practice; and/or, production work. Looking at such rights as copyright, brand rights, image rights, privacy, freedom of expression and information, censorship, and regulation - students explore how these work in practice. They also develop knowledge and understanding of the use of agreements and of licensing, and relate these to art / media production and, professional practice. Students have a wide range of case studies to focus on: film, music, fashion, advertising, PR, publishing, and art; global media production and cultures of appropriation.

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    • Culture and politics are often taken for granted; we tend to assume we know what they are. However, when it comes to defining either culture or politics, much uncertainty arises. Does culture mean a collection of artefacts or a ‘web of meaning' as anthropologists would put it? Is culture part of a superstructure or part and parcel of hegemony? Is it part of structure which constrains human behaviour? What is politics? If the personal is political as feminists have claimed, is everything and anything politics? Is the distinction between the public and private no longer tenable? What is the relationship between culture and politics? Is there any? Is culture driving politics or the other way round? And where is identity situated in this relationship? The module explores these fundamental questions using identity politics as an overall framework.

      Identity politics is an umbrella term that refers to a type of politics which does not appear to be class based, such as environmental politics or the LGBT movement. While the traditional political parties are generally losing their members, these often single-issue based movements attract more participants, thus facilitating political participation of a different form. The central contention in the idea of identity politics is that the focus of politics has shifted from industrial values to post-industrial values (Inglehart), and that we are witnessing the rise and development of new types of politics in which identity and culture play as major a role as class position, if not a more important one. This is a contestable claim which deserves careful examination. For instance, is the idea of identity politics a form of ideology in the Marxist sense?

      The module use the idea of identity politics as a starting point to investigate culture and identity in today's politics through thematic studies and case studies.

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    • This module takes a critical look at the concepts of crime, power and class in the contemporary world, and the impact of ‘crimes of the powerful' on the struggle for human rights and social justice.

      The gaze of many political scientists and criminologists tends to be focused firmly ‘downwards', towards analysing the misdemeanours of the poor, the dispossessed, the underclass

      This module, in contrast, will focus ‘upwards', in an attempt to understand and explain deviant actions by states, corporations, and the ruling class more broadly. Through the use of case studies, presented by the teaching team but also generated by students, we will examine issues such as war crimes, torture, corruption, global supply chains, police abuses, and state terrorism. 

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    • Cold War, Hot War examines various events in the Middle East from past to present and will provide a comprehensive outlook on a troubled area.

      It begins by studying the historical foundations in the region and then explores the impact of the Cold War on the region through case studies such as the Eisenhower Doctrine; the Baghdad Pact, the Suez Crisis and the 1973 war. All this would be assessed against the wider framework of nationalism and regional politics from the early 1950s to the collapse of the USSR in 1990s. Using primary documents we will then assess the consequences of the end of the Cold War on the current crisis and the rise of religiopolitics. The theme of nationalism and leadership will be further explored during the second half of the module, focusing on a number of case studies (Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Israel) their ‘hot wars', foreign policy and current upheavals and challenges.

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    • Human Rights and Social Justice in the Arts

You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University on a not-for-credit basis as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Most of our undergraduate courses support studying or working abroad through the University's Study Abroad or Erasmus programme.

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