Undergraduate Module Descriptor
SOC1028: Media and Society
This module descriptor refers to the 2023/4 academic year.
|Term(s) and duration|
This module will run during term 2 (11 weeks)
Professor Mike Michael (Convenor)
|Available via distance learning|
This module introduces you to the social scientific study of the media. Media are forms of communication. They range from hieroglyphs on walls to text messages. The media of communication are central to every society, as they make social life possible. They also can have profound, and often unnoticed, influences on how a particular society works. From people’s everyday lives to the major social institutions like religion and government, media are essential, not just because they carry messages and meanings but because they have the capacity to shape those messages and meanings. The course allows you to develop a broad understanding of the media, both historically and in the present day. The course presents the main different types of analysis of the media, and their roles in society, that have been developed by a broad range of social scientists. In particular, two themes are highlighted: how media have both shaped and been shaped by modern societies, and how the “power” of the media can be understood from a range of perspectives. Central substantive topics include: media as manipulators; the changing nature of media technologies and industries; the social construction of reality by media; the nature of media audiences; the media’s relations to politics and the public sphere; and the postmodernization and globalization of media landscapes. The course encourages you to reflect upon the strengths and limitations of different approaches to media analysis in relation to the contents of media products, and modes of media production, distribution, consumption and use.
No prior knowledge of social science perspectives is necessary. This module is suitable for both specialist and non-specialist students, and its wide-ranging outlook will appeal to students in social sciences and humanities.