Critical issues in media studies

This course is not offered for study in the current academic year.

Course description

This course introduces students to a critical understanding of issues relating to media in sociological perspectives.  The teaching will be driven by sociological theories and empirical research at an advanced level.  It focuses on the key theoretical approaches from sociology to the study of media and culture, and shows how they can be applied to empirical research on media studies.

It will draw on both academic and multimedia resources to help students to develop their intellectual skills in doing media research.  It encourages students to explore the changing role and constitution of media text in contemporary societies through critical engagement with the theoretical debates, and to examine the ways in which media shape the meanings and structures of social life through analyzing a range of empirical studies.

This course is delivered in a 3 hour lecture format (with breaks).

Course learning outcomes

After completing this course, you should be able to:

  • Understand some of the key concepts of media studies in sociological perspectives.
  • Develop a sociological account of the divergent paths of development of the media industries across different societal contexts in globalization.
  • Acquire intellectual and research skills to analyze the changing role and constitution of media texts in contemporary societies.
  • Demonstrate a sociological understanding of the key theoretical debates and analytical approaches to the study of media and culture by developing empirical research projects.


In-class participation10%
Mid-term quiz30%
Project presentation20%
Research report40%

Required reading

Thompson, John B. 1995. The Media and Modernity: A Social Theory of the Media. Stanford, CA.: Stanford University Press.

Thornham, Sue, Caroline Bassett, and Paul Marris, eds. 2009. Media Studies: A Reader, 3rd ed. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Recommended reading

Deuze, Mark. 2007. Media Work. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Hagen, Ingunn, and Janet Wasko, eds. 2000. Consuming Audiences? Production and Reception in Media Research. Cresskill, N.J.: Hampton Press.

Thompson, John B. 1990. Ideology and Modern Culture: Critical Social Theory in the Era of Mass Communication. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Course co-ordinator and teachers