Module code: SOC2032

Module Overview

This module focuses on the role of media in contemporary societies, placing particular emphasis on questions of domination, influence, regulation, control and inequality. We examine contrasting perspectives on the ways in which societies should regulate and manage media, covering public service broadcasting, neo-liberalism, ownership and control and questions of censorship. We then go on to examine the relationship between media, social cohesion and different forms of social division.

Module provider


Module Leader

GRIFFITHS David (Sociology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 126

Lecture Hours: 12

Seminar Hours: 12

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • The distinction between public service and neo-liberal approaches to media

  • Marxist and other theoretical critiques of the role of media in contemporary societies

  • Constrasting approaches to censorship of ‘harmful’ or ‘offensive’ forms of content

  • The historical development and contemporary fragmentation of the national media audience

  • The relationship between media and social divisions/inequalities

  • The implications of recent developments – including digitalisation and deregulation – for questions of media, power and control

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Practical based assessment ONLINE PARTICIPATION 40

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate

Assessment one assesses students’ ability to convey and discuss ideas in an online forum throughout the semester. Discussion topics tie in with lectures and readings at the time each one takes place. Discussions particularly assess lo 4 but incorporate the first three learning outcomes too.

Assessment two focuses directly on the final learning outcome but also assesses the first three learning outcomes, centred on familiarity with concepts, connections between theoretical and practical approaches to policy and application of theory to examples.  

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Online Participation (40%), requiring students to contribute to each of five discussion topics throughout the semester, drawing upon reading and examples and interacting with the comments of others.

  •  1 hour seen exam (60%), requiring students to answer two questions from a list that covers the key issues and topics discussed on the module.

Formative assessment and feedback

Students gain formative feedback throughout the semester via the interaction of their ideas with peers and the lecturer, both in class and via the online discussions. All students are encouraged to ask questions and test ideas in relation to the assignments during the weeks preceding their submission. Students will be offered the opportunity to mark and provide their own feedback on anonynmised previous exam scripts as part of preparation for the examination.

Module aims

  • To outline different approaches to the purpose, significance and impact of media in contemporary societies.
  • To identify and scrutinise different perspectives with respect to questions of media regulation and control.
  • To engage with theory and research which relates to broader questions of media, power and inequalities.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate a familiarity with key terms and concepts relating to the study of media, power and control
002 Recognise the distinction between different theoretical and practical approaches to the question of media regulation
003 Apply theories relating to the relationships between media and power to examples relating to content, industry, technologies or audiences
004 Discuss a series of topics relating to media, power and control in relation to contemporary examples – both in class and online
005 Draw on the range of material covered on the module in order to construct arguments and explanations under exam conditions

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

Lectures components provide a core background, enthusing students about the significance and importance of the topics and arguments, and enabling the understanding of core concepts and examples. Seminar discussions enable students to develop greater depth of understanding through practical exercises and discussions centred on reading and connecting to key concepts from the lecture. Sometimes lecture and seminar are discrete whereas in other weeks a more integrated approach is taken. SurreyLearn discussions take place throughout the module and enable interaction and feedback on a range of ideas and understandings.

The learning and teaching methods include:

The teaching strategy consists of 22 combined lecture/seminar sessions, plus a revision session. Students complete compulsory readings each week as preparation for the seminar discussions. 

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: SOC2032

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Digital Media Arts with Media Studies BA (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Media, Culture and Society BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Media Studies with Film Studies BA (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2019/0 academic year.