• Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

This course uses an interdisciplinary (social sciences, arts and humanities) lens to explore a series of ideas, concepts, questions and debates on contemporary transformations in the relationship between media, culture and society. These include how the media shapes how the world is understood, media and identity, media inequality, power and control, media users and participation, visual media, media and compassion, media organisations, regulation and political economy, news and popular culture, and reality television.


Key issues addressed may include: connectivity, sanitisation, ethics and journalism, trolling and trust, risk, terrorism, war, representations of the Coronavirus global pandemic, surveillance-tracking apps, surveillance capitalism, biometrics and facial recognition, AI, military systems, hate-speech.


10 x 2 hour sessions

Requirements of Entry

None for the course specifically, but entry to the MSc programme requires a good first degree in a relevant discipline.

Excluded Courses





1 x 4,000-word formally assessed assignment, counting 100% of the course mark.


Academic essay (conceptual, theoretical and historical focus)


A list of essay questions will be provided in the course guide, although students may instead answer a question devised in consultation with the Course Convenor.

Course Aims

The aims of the course are to:

■ Acquire advanced knowledge and understanding of the key ideas, concepts, questions and debates on contemporary transformations in the interrelationships between media, culture and society.

■ Gain unique interdisciplinary (social sciences, media and cultural studies) knowledge and understanding of the key ideas, concepts, categories, theories, debates, approaches and actors in the ongoing interrelationships between media, culture and society.

■ Equip students to be critical research-led experts in the opportunities and threats posed by individual and collective interactions with contemporary media, especially in relation to power, identity and inequality.

■ Obtain advanced insights into the technological and medial shifts in power and inequality, regulation and control, and forms of resistance and activism in contemporary culture and society.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Demonstrate and work with knowledge of the principal theories, concepts and approaches to the study of media and change in contemporary society.

■ Apply a thorough interdisciplinary knowledge, skills and critical understanding of how developments in media enhance and disrupt everyday ways of living.

■ Identify, conceptualise and define new and abstract problems and issues.

■ Use a wide range of routine skills and a range of advanced skills to evaluate a range of resources and materials, including academic, journalistic, and other media texts, to inform interdisciplinary understanding, argument and analysis.

■ Recognise the cultural and moral responsibility of media.

■ Identify, analyse and contextualise shifting forms of power relations and inequalities in relation to the dominant media forms, cultures and norms of the day.

■ Exercise substantial autonomy and initiative in written work.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.