Module Details

SC106-4-FY-CO: Media, Culture And Society

Year: 2017/18
Department: Sociology
Essex credit: 30
ECTS credit: 15
Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students: Yes
Full Year Module Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students for a Single Term: Yes
Outside Option: Yes

Supervisor: Dr Michael Bailey, Dr James Allen-Robertson
Teaching Staff: Dr Michael Bailey and Dr James Allen-Robertson
Contact details: Jane Harper, Undergraduate Administrator, Telephone: 01206 873052 E-mail:

Module is taught during the following terms
Autumn Spring Summer

Module Description

The aim of this module is to encourage students to understand the modern media as a social terrain, as a systematic order of communication and as a domain of ideas. The topics studied will cover some of the high profile areas of popular debate including the media and violence, the media and persuasion, the media and objectivity. In parallel, the module also develops some of the central concerns of intellectual debate, including:

* The relationship between popular aesthetics, technology and society.
* The role of the media in the construction and contestation of values and meanings.
* The progressive or regressive tendencies of an increasingly mediated society.

Students will receive a foundation in the major theoretical approaches to mass media, the premises of which will be established using examples from cinema, photography, newspapers and, in particular, television. In the process, students will encounter many of the disciplinary strands contributing to contemporary media analysis: sociology, cultural studies, semiotics, cultural and political economy, history, mass communications and anthropology. Students will also consider the basics of practical methodologies for doing media research, including content analysis, research interviews and ethnography. The module is intended to be accessible to entry-level students in the humanities and social sciences, and will support further study of contemporary media in a number of disciplines.

Learning and Teaching Methods

A range of teaching and learning methods will be used, including one-hour weekly lectures, seminars and personal tutorials (as required). Lectures are used to introduce an overview of the key theoretical issues and debates. Seminars provide an opportunity to review the lecture material through illustrative readings, group discussions and activities. Please let your tutor know if you are unable to attend a lecture or seminar. Personal tutorials will provide students with guidance about and feedback on assessed work and any other academic problems you are encountering on the module.


50 per cent Coursework Mark, 50 per cent Exam Mark

Exam Duration and Period

3:00 during Summer Examination period.

Other information

Compulsory for:

BA Criminology & the Media, BA Media, Culture & Society


  • There are key readings for each week which you must read prior to the lecture and seminar. You will need to purchase the following textbook (available from the University book shop):
  • * Paul Long & Tim Wall, Media Studies: Texts, Production and Context (London: Routledge, 2012, 2nd edition).
  • Of all the many introductory media textbooks this one is much the best and it will see you through your first year of study. It covers all the key topics and each chapter includes detailed case studies that we can work through in seminars.
  • Further readings are suggested in the aforementioned textbook. These will help you to extend your knowledge of particular topics and debates. It is advisable and beneficial to read some of this material prior to class. They are also indispensable references for your essays. The recommended readings are far from exhaustive, however, and you should be prepared to pursue your own independent research to uncover suitable material that can be applied to the issues covered on the course. This is particularly important when preparing assessed work for which you will be expected to extend your reading beyond the suggested reading and hunt down new references and books on the subject.

Further information