Cultural Theory and Cultural Forms

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Donald Slater STC.S218a and Dr David Madden STC.S209


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Culture and Society. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

The course will provide a foundation in approaches to cultural processes and institutions, attending to analytical frameworks, research strategies and empirical case studies. The first term investigates concepts of culture in relation to core concerns of social theory. This includes both a review of traditions of theorizing culture and a consideration of analytical frameworks and debates that have developed in relation to specific social dimensions such as, the city, mediation, economy, ethnicity, gender and technology. The second term looks at key themes in empirical research into cultural practice, drawing on a number of case studies such as specific urban spaces, visual cultures, organizational cultures, cultural industries and institutions, and processes of media and cultural consumption.


10 hours of lectures and 20 hours of seminars in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 20 hours of seminars in the LT.

Formative coursework

All students are expected to submit one piece of non-assessed written work per term and prepare seminar presentations.

Indicative reading

Term 1: P Bourdieu, Distinction (1984); P du Gay (Ed), Production of Culture, Cultures of Production (1997); N Couldry, Inside Culture (2000); T Eagleton, The Idea of Culture (2000); M Featherstone & S Lash (Eds), Spaces of Culture: City-Nation-World (1999); U Hannerz, Cultural Complexity (1992); D Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity (1990); D R Slater, Consumer Culture and Modernity (1997); M Smith, Culture: Reinventing the Social Sciences (2000); J Storey (Ed) Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: A Reader (1998); J Thompson, The Media and Modernity (1995); R Williams, Culture and Society (1958).

Term 2: Amin, A and Thrift, N (2002) Cities: Reimagining the Urban, Cambridge: Polity Press; Borden, I, Kerr, J, Rendell, J and Pivaro, A (Eds.) (2002) The Unknown City: Contesting Architecture and Social Space, London: MIT Press; Cammaerts, B. (2008) Mind the Gap: Internet-Mediated Participatory Practices beyond the Nation State, Manchester: Manchester University Press; Datta A (2009) Places of everyday cosmopolitanisms: East European construction workers in London, Environment and Planning A, vol. 41(2), 353-370; Datta A (2008) Architecture of Low-income Widow Housing: 'Spatial Opportunities' in Madipur, West Delhi, Cultural Geographies, vol. 15(3), 231-253; Gilroy P (1992) Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness, London: Verso; Harper, D (1986) Visual culture; expanding sociological vision, The American Sociologist, 23:1, 54-70; King, A. (2004) Spaces of Global Cultures: Architecture, Urbanism, Identity, New York and London: Routledge; Massey, Doreen (1994) Space, Place, and Gender, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press; Slater, D. and T. Ariztia-Larrain (2007) Cultural Maps and Cultural Development: a study of youth culture, technology and cultural policy. London/Aviles, LSE/Enterprise LSE/CCON; Zukin, S (1995) The Cultures of Cities, Oxford, Blackwell.


Essay (50%, 5000 words) in the LT.
Essay (50%, 5000 words) in the ST.

Two hard copies of each assessed essay, with submission sheets attached to each, to be handed in to the Administration Office, S219A, no later than 16:30 on the submission day. The first essay is due by the second Friday of Lent Term and the second essay is due by the second Friday of Summer Term. An additional copy of each essay is to be uploaded to Moodle no later than 18:00 on the same day each essay is due.

Attendance at all seminars and submission of all set coursework is required.

Student performance results

(2009/10 - 2011/12 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 19
Merit 54
Pass 22.2
Fail 4.8

Key facts

Department: Sociology

Total students 2012/13: 26

Average class size 2012/13: 26

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course survey results

(2010/11 - 2012/13 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 78.8%



Reading list (Q2.1)


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Lectures (Q2.5)


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