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Conceptual framework of one of the theorists studied in the course to assess a contemporary media issue.


Important message about the assessment

This is a 1,000 word piece of work that uses the conceptual framework of one of the theorists studied in the course to assess a contemporary media issue. This should be submitted via the VLE halfway through the course. You will receive feedback before completing the second piece of work: a 2000 word essay (questions will be released during reading week).

Students have asked for clarification on what kind of questions are appropriate. We don’t want to be too prescriptive as part of the assessment is that you decide on your topic through thinking about the relationship between the theories studied and the wider media environment. So we will not be giving you specific questions or topics as the whole point of the assessment is that you come up with both the theory and the relevant example you want to discuss.

The essay should, therefore, cover both an outline of the theory (that demonstrates your understanding of contrasting positions in relation to it) as well as the application of that theory to the media.

You are free to discuss any of the theories that we cover in the course though it might be easier to focus on theorists/concepts covered in the first half of the course (ie ones you will have all come across by the time you write the assessment). You can relate these concepts to specific media texts (ie a single television programme, a film or an app), to a policy debate (eg media ownership), to a technology, or to a broader activity that affects the media (branding, advertising, public relations).

Some examples might include:

1. Using Marx’s theory of commodity fetishism to analyse a specific ad campaign in terms of the social construction of wants not needs;
2. Applying Weber’s notion of rationality to the current obsession with lifestyle programmes;
3. Illustrating “double consciousness” in the light of Du Bois’ theories
4. Exploring Simmel’s concept of individuation in relation to our use of Facebook.
5. Drawing on theories of anti-colonialism to reflect on campaigns to ‘decolonise the media’
6. Analysing specific advertisements in relation to theories about the performance of gender.

There are some “model” analyses on the VLE that all did very well for you to take inspiration from – but not to copy….

Good luck!


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