MDS-10023 - Media, Culture, and Power
Coordinator: Rachel Wood
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 4
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office: 01782 733147

Programme/Approved Electives for 2024/25


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2024/25

This module will introduce cultural theories that are essential in analysing not only the mass media but everyday communicative practices more broadly. It will provide tools for exploring the role of culture both in creating meaningful media texts and in understanding these texts. We will explore a range of issues that relate to the creation of meaning in the media, including: how media texts relate to broader cultural norms and values; the difficulties of intercultural communication (and how to overcome these difficulties); and political questions about the way that issues, people and products are represented.
As well as examining media texts themselves, we will also be asking what is involved in interpreting these texts and examine the audience┐s active role in this process. To explore these issues we will draw on theories of cultural codes, ideology, power and discourse. We will then apply these approaches to a range of practical examples ┐ ranging from news media and online political communication, to advertising campaigns and reality TV ┐ in order to demonstrate the value of cultural theory in both interpreting and producing media texts.

The module aims to provide an introduction to key theories of media culture and power, from the 19th century to the present day, and the evolution of these theories. It will provide students with the skills to apply theories of culture to a variety of popular media texts. In the process, the module aims to develop understanding of the role of class, race, gender, sexuality and identity in the formation of popular media and culture. Study skills are also embedded into the module in order to develop core academic skills that students will need throughout their degree.

Intended Learning Outcomes

demonstrate an understanding of a range of cultural theories and how these theories relate to contemporary popular culture: 1,2
develop analysis skills by applying core cultural theories to the analysis of popular media texts (including advertisements, films, television programmes, and social media): 2
develop critical reading skills by engaging with academic literature: 1,2
develop core academic study skills that are essential for success at degree level, such as organisation, time management, self directed study, and good academic practice: 1,2

Study hours

12 1-hour weekly seminars in groups
12 1-hour weekly lectures
20 hours (2 per week) working on academic skills challenges
48 hours private study, which will involve the critically-engaged reading of primary and secondary texts
58 hours working on assessments

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Reading Assessment weighted 20%
300 word reading response
Students will write a response to ONE academic reading from a selected list. The reading response should summarise the main arguments and points in the reading in the students' own words, and critically reflect on what the student learned from doing the reading.

2: Portfolio weighted 80%
Academic skills portfolio
Students will complete a series of ten weekly academic skills challenges. Skills challenges will be set each week on the KLE and discussed and supported in weekly seminars. Skills challenges will involve things such as creating a reference list, paraphrasing a quote, analysing a selected media text, and responding to feedback from assessment 1. Students must submit the full collection of academic skills challenges as a final 1,200 word portfolio to Turnitin at the end of the module. Students will be assessed first on whether all skills challenges have been completed fully and correctly, and second on the skills demonstrated in response to the challenges.