Module code: SOC3044

Module Overview

This module examines the significance of popular music in mediated societies, focusing on industries, texts, technologies and audiences. We explore a range of topics, including authenticities, standardisation, global music flows and a range of issues regarding music consumers and the ways popular music relates to divisions relating to class, gender and ethnicity. 

Module provider


Module Leader

HODKINSON Paul (Sociology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 128

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

1. Understandings of authenticity in relation to new technologies

2. Music industries

3. Global flows of music

4. Questions of power, manipulation and democratisation

5. Music sub-cultures, fans and audiences

6. Questions of class, gender and race in relation to popular music. 

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Practical based assessment ONLINE PARTICIPATION 20

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 lo 5 and encourages close critical reading and written discussion, but also assesses understanding of concepts and application of theories (1 and 3).  

Assessment three focused directly on lo 6 but also assesses all of los 1-3, on familiarity with terms and concepts, the ways popular music can be studied and application of theory.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Online participation (20%), 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.

  • 1000 word explication essay (30%) requiring students to select an article from a list provided and write a critical explication of the arguments therein.

  • 1 hour seen exam (50%), requiring students to answer one question 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 provide an overview of role and significance of popular music in mediated societies
  • To elucidate and differentiate between approaches related to music in relation to texts, technologies, industry and audiences
  • To identify and relate to one another a range of theoretical and empirical studies relating to specialist topics relating to popular music studies

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate a familiarity with key terms and concepts used in the study of popular music
002 Appreciate the different ways in which popular music can be studied, notably as an industry, as cultural text, as technology and in terms of its consumption
003 Apply to the case of music, broader theories about the relationship between media, culture and society
004 Discuss popular music theories and research in relation to contemporary examples in class and online
005 Carry out a close critical reading of a piece of literature on popular music and society
006 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: SOC3044

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Media Studies with Theatre and Performance BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Sociology BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Sociology with Psychology BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Media Studies with Film Studies BA (Hons) 1 Optional 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.