Debates in Media Studies A (P4061)

30 credits, Level 4

Spring teaching

Throughout this module, you'll encounter some of the most well-known and widely regarded theoretical and critical approaches used in the study of media today. It will help you to identify and analyse the debates circulating around those approaches. In asking ‘what is the subject of media’ and ‘how should we study it?’, different approaches come up with very different answers. Media can be approached as ritual, (global) industry, meaning-maker, technology, dreamworld, everyday life, work place and sensual pleasure machine. Focus can switch from media production and organisation to analysis of media output, from exploration of consumption and use to the bigger issue of media in society.

In carving a way through this complexity, the module will introduce you to a few key frameworks – for example ‘political economy’, ‘critical race studies’, ‘psychoanalysis’, ‘feminist media theory’ – and alert you to how differences of approach have emerged depending on the specific medium or cultural form (radio, TV, cinema, internet, newspaper, advertising, music etc). However, a repeated reference point for the module is the cultural output of media and methods analysis, especially modes of textual analysis.


29%: Lecture
71%: Seminar


100%: Coursework (Essay, Professional log)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 33 hours of contact time and about 267 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2024/25. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: