Theory Taste and Trash A (V3051)

30 credits, Level 5

Autumn teaching

This module introduces cultural studies students to theories of good taste and popular culture. It gives a historically-­rooted account of how the study of popular culture came to be established in British higher education, and considers the key theoretical approaches that helped to shape those studies. The module explores the meeting of popular culture and 'the academy', and the intriguing questions it continues to pose concerning hierarchies of taste, questions of value, and definitions of educational worth.

A series of lectures will offer you a historical overview and an introduction to the influence of key writers, theorists and approaches, while the module seminars will encourage you to engage critically with significant texts in the field (from writers such as Hall, Bourdieu and Bakhtin). You will test the interpretive frameworks these texts offer by undertaking some case study analyses of contemporary popular cultural texts and practices (in fields such as television, music, the leisure industries and youth culture).


19%: Lecture
81%: Seminar


100%: Coursework (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is 300 hours of work. This breaks down into 35 hours of contact time and 265 hours of independent study.

This module is running in the academic year 2017/18. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. It may become unavailable due to staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of such changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: