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Regular version of the site
Bachelor 2019/2020

Media, culture and society

Type: Elective course (International Relations)
Area of studies: International Relations
Delivered by: School of Media
When: 3 year, 1, 2 module
Mode of studies: Full time
Instructors: Natalia Grincheva
Language: English
ECTS credits: 4

Course Syllabus

Abstract

This course offers an introduction to media cultures. It explores fundamental theories, concepts and models for the study of media in relation to contemporary culture and society. The course is divided in two key parts: (1) Critical issues in the study of media and society and (2) Media consumption. The first part focusses on understanding media texts as well as on deconstructing their meanings and influence upon audiences. It examines different conceptualizations of media audiences in relation to participatory digital cultures. Some of the themes discussed in this part include the impact of media on identities and social life, representations of gender, ethnicity and race in the media, digital media and the public sphere. The first part mostly equips students with key analytical tools to identify, explore and measure the impact of media on contemporary social life and culture. The second part of the course surveys different types of media, including print, visual, film, Internet and beyond, discussing how they are produced, organized and consumed by contemporary audiences and communities. The course concludes with several lectures that focus on the relationship between media and society by examining how they are shaped across time and space in global and transcultural environments.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • introduce students to the critical analysis of media through the study of media texts, their meanings and influences, media audiences and social changes, new media communications and cultures
  • Explore main concepts in media sociology, such as media representation, ideology, discourse, narrative, transmedia and trans-culture
  • Investigate major types of media as differentiated in terms of their organizing bodies, products and modes of consumption and interaction
  • Explore key issues of the relevance and significance of media in contemporary culture and social life
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Students are able to analyse media texts as an intermediary between audiences and media industries
  • Students are able to understand the role of media institutions in production and circulation of media.
  • Students are able to identify different types and segments of media audiences and are able to analyse them through different methods.
  • Students are able to define media influences and analyse effects produced by media upon audiences
  • Students are able to critically engage with concepts of media globalization and can analyse the processes of cultural homogenization and heterogenisation
  • Students are able to understand main typologies and patterns of consumption and production of print media
  • Students are able to understand main typologies and patterns of consumption and production of visual media
  • Students are able to understand main typologies and patterns of consumption and production of sound motion media
  • Students are able to deconstruct and analyse trans-media texts and explore their composition and meanings
  • Students are able to analyse the role of media in human perception of time
  • Students are able to analyse the role of media in human perception of space
  • Students are able to understand the transformational work played by socially significant words (digital keywords) in the current information age.
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Media Texts
    This topic will explore the following questions: 1) In what respects is the media text both a material object or a set of meanings? 2) How far are those meanings determined by the producer or by the reader of the text? 3) How may we use forms of textual analysis to investigate meanings and their influences, especially with relation to ideology? 4) How may we understand the work of conventions in structuring the text and meaning, in relation to narrative, realism and genre in particular?
  • Media Institutions
    This topic will explore the following questions: 1) How may we understand the identity, function and significance of media institutions apart from their role as constructors of media product? 2) In what respects may we understand media institutions as being distinct from or similar to other commercial enterprises? 3) How do we understand the relationship of media institutions to other dominant institutions of our society, especially to the advertising industry? 4) What characterizes the relationship between media and government, especially with reference to the regulation of media? 5) How does media policy affect the position of public service broadcasting (PSB) in particular, as it competes with a free market model? 6) How do media institutions understand their audiences, and what are the implications of this understanding?
  • Media Audiences
    This topic will explore the following questions: 1) How do we understand the term ‘audience’, given the difference between the actuality of the reader as an individual, and the notion of audiences as coherent groups? 2) How should we understand audiences in terms of the marketplace? 3) How may audiences be understood as being ‘active’ in their engagement with texts, and how far does any such activity give audiences power over the production of meaning?
  • Media Influence
    This topic will explore the following questions: 1) What is the nature of the relationship between media and government, media and society, in terms of political activity? 2) Can government influence news media coverage of politics? 3) Can media political coverage influence voting habits? 4) How influential are political campaigns? 5) What is the relationship between media and celebrity politics? 6) In what ways has the arrival of new media, especially the Net, influenced the conduct of politics?
  • Media Globalization
    This topic will explore the following questions: 1) in what ways are the media part of globalization? 2) what are key features of global media communications? 3) how globalization affect media diversity in regards to local cultures? 4) how meaningful are the concepts of global ownership? global culture or global audience?
  • Print Media
    This topic will explore the following questions: 1) what are the main typologies of print media? 2) how did digital technologies change production, consumption and circulation of print media? 3) what is the role and place of print media in contemporary media cultures?
  • Media Images
    This topic will explore the following questions: 1) What is the role of visual information in contemporary culture and society? 2) How visual media shape our perceptions and identities? 3) Why visual media become especially salient in the age of digital globalization?
  • Sound and Motion
    This topic will explore the following questions: 1) Why and how did cinematography change human media culture? 2) what is the role of contemporary film industry in the processes of globalization? 3) What are the key patterns of film consumption among different types of audiences?
  • Transmedia
    This topic will explore the following questions: 1) what is trans-media and why it becomes ubiquitous in contemporary human society and culture? 2) how media texts and products travel and transcend the boundaries of major media types? 3) how trans-media is used in contemporary cultural production and circulation?
  • Media and Time
    This topic will explore the following questions: 1) How media defines and is being defined by time? 2) How and why do media help people travel through time ? 3) can media change human perceptions of time and affect cultural and social identities?
  • Media and Space
    This topic will explore the following questions: 1) What is the relationship between space and media? 2) How media create "third" spaces? 3) Can different spaces and their characteristics affect human consumption of media products? How?
  • Digital Keywords
    This topic will scrutinizing key media terms such as algorithm, analog, digital, hacker, internet, meme and many others. It will explore how older terms take on new uses, such as the cloud in cloud computing, the mirror in database mirroring, and the forum in online forums. Furthermore, it will charter subtler shifts as classic terms such as community, culture, democracy, memory, and sharing migrate online and into digital forms.
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Participation 10%
    Class participation includes proper attendance (checked and recorded for each class) and active participation in class activities.
  • non-blocking Concept Presentation: A Digital Keyword (oral) 25%
    The Concept Presentation is an analysis of a media concept of your choice from the book Digital Keywords by Benjamin Peters (2016). It should engage appropriate theoretical foundations to frame your presentation to explore and discuss key intersections between media, culture and society.
  • non-blocking Project Proposal (25%)
    Project Proposal is an outline of the final research project.
  • non-blocking Final Project (40%)
    Final Project should examine a specific issue, case or concept within a broad field of media topics in relation to culture and society.
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (2 module)
    The final grade is rounded up by arithmetic rules.
Bibliography

Bibliography

Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Amezaga Albizu, J. (2011). Media Globalization and the Debate on Multiculturality. Spain, Europe: InTech. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.BE28E7C7
  • Burton, G. (2010). Media and Society : Critical Perspectives (Vol. 2nd ed). Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Education. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=466475
  • Fornäs, J. (2007). Consuming Media : Communication, Shopping and Everyday Life. Oxford: Berg Publishers. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=231116
  • Peters, B. (2016). Digital Keywords : A Vocabulary of Information Society and Culture. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1159032

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Barker, T. S. (2012). Time and the Digital : Connecting Technology, Aesthetics, and a Process Philosophy of Time. Hanover, N.H.: Dartmouth College Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=475100
  • Dawkins, M. A. (2009). Lisa Nakamura: Digitizing Race: Visual Cultures of the Internet. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.74E9EA20
  • Harbord, J. (2002). Film Cultures. London: SAGE Publications Ltd. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=251425
  • Hudson, D. M., & Zimmermann, P. R. (2015). Thinking Through Digital Media : Transnational Environments and Locative Places. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1172804
  • Joyce, S. (2018). Transmedia Storytelling and the Apocalypse. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1876988
  • Matheson, D. (2005). Media Discourses : Analysing Media Texts. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Education. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=234023
  • Ross, K., & Nightingale, V. (2003). Media and Audiences : New Perspectives. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Education. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=234089
  • Sayre, S., & King, C. (2010). Entertainment and Society : Influences, Impacts, and Innovations (Vol. 2nd ed). New York: Routledge. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=316441
  • Thimm, C., Anastasiadis, M., & Einspänner-Pflock, J. (2018). Media Logic(s) Revisited : Modelling the Interplay Between Media Institutions, Media Technology and Societal Change. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1656449
  • Usher, N. (2014). George Brock, Out of Print: Newspapers, Journalism and the Business of News in the Digital Age. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.C6DFC7FF