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Regular version of the site

Critical and Cultural Theories of Media

2020/2021
Academic Year
ENG
Instruction in English
5
ECTS credits
Delivered at:
School of Media
Course type:
Compulsory course
When:
1 year, 1, 2 module

Instructors

Course Syllabus

Abstract

This course develops student’s knowledge in field of media through knowledge of relationship between social development in general and media institutions and theoretical reflection on that relationship from the point of view of different theories of classic media studies. As a result student become able to understand the historical process of media development in relationship with the history in general and to apply classic media theories to the analysis of contemporary phenomena in field of media.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • To provide necessary orientation in field of historical development of media as social institution, as symbolic and content evolution and as technical means of communication and its evolution
  • To provide knowledge in field of connection between basic historical process and history of media including history of devices, platforms and mediums
  • To make students able to orient among different classic theories of media, to classify them
  • To provide knowledge of different theories of media and its essential texts
  • To provide analytical framework to analyze contemporary phenomena such as social media, mass-self communication, blogs, fake news etc
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Be able to identify main periods in development of media and society
  • Be able to understand the role of media in political and economic fields across different political regimes
  • Be able to categorize and organize different periods in media history
  • Be able to trace the evolution of content regulation apparatus
  • Be able to identify the role of media in national identity formation
  • Be able to identify main theories of media
  • Be able to classify main theories of media and build maps of theories
  • Be able to identify different approaches to media analysis
  • Be able to know essential texts in field of media theory
  • Be able to use media theories to analyze phenomena of contemporary society
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Basic categories of the course
    Terms information, communication and media. Main attributes and levels of media. Types of media. Media as symbolic form in the society.
  • General history of media as social institution
    Media as symbolic institution. The role of media among economic, political, coercive institutions. Media and power. Media and interaction in different types of societies and political regimes. Role of media in Nation-state formation.
  • History of media content regulation
    Early public professions and rhetoric as mass-communication activity. First clay-tablets and proto newspapers. University-based corporation control of written book production. The role of printed book revolution. Religious censorship and its evolution across Europe. Main principles of freedom of press: Bill of rights, Declaration of right of human and citizen. Press and French Revolution. Manipulation of media in XIX century. Industrial organization of mass press. Media as commercial industry after XIX century. Media as propaganda machine in XX century: War propaganda. Development of press in different countries.
  • History of mediums
    Mediums for written text. Communication efficacy of ideographic and alphabetic writing. Written book as medium and its evolution: parchment and paper. Volumen and codex. Role of printed book in knowledge development. Optical and electrical telegraphs. Daguerreotype and photo. Phonograph and song recording as media devices. Telephone and its evolution. Movie industry. Television and radio as mediums. Digital civilization
  • General classification of media theories
    Main maps of media theories. Social oriented theories and media oriented theories. Cultural theories and material theories. Historical periods of theories.
  • Empiric-functionalist group of theories
    Main origins of group. Behaviorist approach and mathematical theory of information as basics for empiric-functionalism. Theory of magic bullet. Theory of public opinion. Harold Lasswell and model of propaganda. Theories of limited effects. Lazarsfeld and two steps flow model. Katz gratification theory. Theory of agenda-setting.
  • Critical group of theories
    Main philosophical origins of the group. The notion of technical reproducibility in culture in works of Benjamin. Technically reproducible and non-reproducible arts. Cultural industry in works of Adorno and Horkheimer. Marcuse’s One Dimentional man and critic of bourgeois society. Theory of public sphere and critic of capitalistic social control in works of Habermas.
  • Linguistic group of theories
    The notion of sign and Piercian and De Saussure concepts of signs. Language as social institution and non-transparence of language. Semiology as science. Mythology creation in works of Barthes. Notion of text and notion of discourse, their relationships. Narratology and main concepts of it. Actantial model of Greimas
  • Microsociology of media
    Palo Alto School in communication research. Interactionism studies and works of Goffman. Harold Garfinkel and his theory of action. Ethnomethodology of Garfinkel.
  • Technical innovation as communication
    E. Rogers and his concept of innovation as communication. The model of Rogers and its implication in social sciences. The critic of Roger’s model. The translation model (Latour and Callon). The model of socio-technical alliance by Patrice Flichy.
  • Technodeterminist social theories of media
    General framework of technodeterminist theories of media. McLuhan concept of media. Marshall McLuhan theory of Galaxies. Cold and hot media in works of McLuhan. Theory of information society. Castells theory of informational society. Network society in Castells theory.
  • Theories of media reception
    Origins of micro-social user-centered approach. De Certeau and Bourdieu’s works in this field. Uses and gratification theory as first trigger in media practices theories. Cultural studies and its origins in field of user studies. The notion of culture in cultural studies. Encoding/decoding theory by Stuart Hall. Theory of everyday television of D. Morley. Media and diaspora media studies. Arjun Appadurai cultural interaction.
  • Political economy of media
    The notion of political economy of media. The origins of theory. Theory of cultural imperialism and cultural dependence. Critic of media concentration and commercial model of media. Chomsky’s model of propaganda. The cultural industries theory and its evolution. Critic of information society from the side of political economy of media.
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Seminars
  • non-blocking Written Essay
  • non-blocking Written exam + oral exam
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (1 module)
    0.4 * Seminars + 0.6 * Written Essay
  • Interim assessment (2 module)
    0.3 * Seminars + 0.7 * Written exam + oral exam
Bibliography

Bibliography

Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Brown, B. R. (2003). Dialectic of Enlightenment: Philosophical Fragments (Book). Critical Sociology (Brill Academic Publishers), 29(2), 274–276. https://doi.org/10.1177/08969205030290020805
  • Dahl, R. A. (2006). On Political Equality. New Haven: Yale University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=188013
  • Schiller, H. I. (1991). Culture, Inc : The Corporate Takeover of Public Expression. New York: Oxford University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=169118

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Evrard, A. Y., & Appadurai, A. (2017). Modernity at Large : Cultural Dimensions of Globalisation. London: Macat Library. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1564340
  • North, D. C., Weingast, B. R., & Wallis, J. J. (2009). Violence and Social Orders : A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=273785