MDS-10023 - Media, Culture, and Power
Coordinator: Eva Hs Giraud Tel: +44 1782 7 34258
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 4
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office: 01782 733147

Programme/Approved Electives for 2020/21


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2020/21

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 culture and foster, 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, both written and visual. 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 students┐ skills in close reading and textual analysis.

Intended Learning Outcomes

demonstrate an understanding of a range of cultural theories and how these theories relate to contemporary popular culture: 1,2
apply core cultural theories to a range of popular media texts (including advertisements, films, television programmes, and social media): 1,2
critically engage with theoretical debates and demonstrate understanding of the distinctions between different theories of culture: 1,2
develop advanced reading skills, especially in the areas of close and contextual reading: 1,2

Study hours

11 1-hour weekly seminars in groups
11 1-hour weekly lectures
10 hours (1 per week) working on seminar preparation tasks
58 hours private study (5 per week), which will involve the critically-engaged reading of primary and secondary texts
60 hours working on assessments

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Short Paper weighted 30%
A short essay-type assessment
The short paper will consist of an essay of 1,200 words that will ask students to discuss an extract of critical theory with respect to a popular cultural text (such as a television programme, advertisement, or example of social media use). Students will be offered the choice of at least three extracts to ground their analysis.

2: Essay weighted 70%
2,000 word essay
Students choose 1 question from a list of 8-10 options. Each question asks the student to look at aspects of cultural theory and to apply them to one or more of the core primary texts.