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.