Module code: SOC3079

Module Overview

This module examines the significance of popular music in mediated societies, focusing on music industries, content, technologies and audiences. A range of topics are explored, including authenticities, standardisation, global music flows, new digital technologies and a range of issues regarding music consumers and communities. The module also addresses the connections of popular music with social divisions/identities, including those relating to ethnicity, gender and class.

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

Workshop Hours: 22

Independent Learning Hours: 106

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

1. Understandings of authenticity in relation to new technologies

2. The role and power of global music industries

3. International flows of music

4. The significance of digital media technologies in relation to popular music industries and cultures

5. Different interpretations of music fans and audiences

6. The significance of music as an expression of or resistance to marginalization

7. The relationship between popular music and social divisions/identities, including those relating to race and gender.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Practical based assessment Online discussion participation 35
Coursework Essay 65

Alternative Assessment

Alternative assessment for Assignment 1 – Online discussion participation:   Reflective Portfolio (5 x 250 word reflective pieces on key topics across the module)

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate the ability to discuss key research and arguments on music, media and society with other students online and to synthesise, organise and critique a range of research as part of a piece of academic writing.

Assessment one (online discussion participation) 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 l.o. 4 but incorporate the first three learning outcomes too.

Assessment two (essay) focuses directly on lo 5 and 6, while incorporating lo 1-3 as well through asking students to research, plan and write an essay on a topic that connects to key themes covered on the module.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Online discussion participation (35%), 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.

  •  Essay, 2000 words (65%), requiring students to select and answer a question relating to key topic/s covered across the module, to research and synthesise key literature and combine description and criticism to develop arguments on the topic.


Formative assessment and Feedback


Students will receive feedback through discussions and workshop activities in class throughout the semester.


Feedback on online discussions takes place throughout the semester through the following:

  • Group-oriented feedback given at various points, particularly towards the beginning of the semester (and the start of the exercise)

  • Ongoing feedback through tutor comments/replies made as part of the discussions at various points

  • Individual written feedback on contributions so far, delivered half-way through the semester


Students are also able to receive feedback on their plans for the essay assignment should they wish to.

Module aims

  • To assess the 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 perspectives and empirical studies relating to specialist topics on the role of popular music in mediated societies

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate understanding and application of key terms and concepts used in the study of popular music KCT
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 K
003 Apply to the case of music, broader theories about the relationship between media, culture and society KC
004 Discuss popular music theories and research with others in relation to contemporary examples in class and online KCT
005 Synthesis and evaluate key theories on the significance of popular music in written work KCT
006 Explore, explain and evaluate a range of academic reading on popular music in relation to designated topics KCPT

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:

Classes integrate elements of lecture-style teaching with seminar and workshop exercises. 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. In most sessions, an integrated approach is taken, with workshop/seminar exercises interspersed between sections of lecture so that particular themes, areas or arguments can be elaborated through interactive work, as they come up.

Weekly essential readings form a further key component of the approach to learning and teaching, with students invited to complete such reading, along with preliminary exercises, as preparation for class and then to discuss or complete reading-based exercises in relation to the broader topics raised as part of the class.

In addition, SurreyLearn discussions, which form part of the summative assessment for the module, take place throughout the teaching weeks for the module and enable interaction and feedback on a range of ideas and understandings. Specifically these discussions enable in-class discussions to continue online in the coming days – and similarly enable student discussion prior to class to feed into lecture and seminar activities.

Classes also include guidance and discussion on assessment preparation. Additional support also is offered to students outside of class.

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: SOC3079

Other information

The Department of Sociology is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in four of these areas. A summary of how this is achieved for each of these four key pillars is provided below:


Employability – The module encourages students to develop of different forms and formats of written communication (through formal essay writing and more concise, discursive and interactive online discussion participation), oral communication/presentation skills through ongoing class discussions, and critical and evaluation skills through ongoing assessment of theories, concepts, research and evidence on different facets of popular music throughout the module. In addition to this, specific learning about music as industry and the behaviours and identities of consumers is of value to those interested in careers in media, music, marketing, PR and related areas. 


Digital Capabilities – Digital transformations forms a key theme that pervades several of the topics examined on the module and students will develop a detailed knowledge of the significance of digital technologies to popular music from an industry and user point of view. In addition, the online discussion assessment, which also forms a key component of learning throughout the module, centres on development of skills in digital interaction, debate and the collaborative online development of knowledge. By extension, though development of skills and an ethos connected to the effective exchange of ideas, the module helps students develop capacities related to digital citizenship in a broader sense.


Global and Cultural Capabilities – Global dimensions to the operation of music industries, flows of music itself and the organization of fans form key components within the module, including in relation to the relationship between migration and music flows, debates about appropriation, and understandings of the global operation and power of transnational record labels.


Resourcefulness and Resilience – Operating throughout the semester, the online discussion assignment demands an ongoing resourcefulness and commitment from students in encouraging them to connect class discussions to their own examples and reflections, while also encouraging resilience through testing their ideas through interactive debate and discussion with others. The essay assignment focuses on in depth research and writing relating to a particular topic, demanding extensive commitment – and resilience – as part of a process that is supported by the opportunity to seek feedback on plans along the way.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Media and Communication BSc (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

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 2025/6 academic year.