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IR140: Global Communications, Citizens and Cultural Politics


Course Content

How do films, television, music and new media impact on and shape the lives and politics of diverse groups of citizens and, in turn, what role do they play in urban, regional and global processes of cultural change? Is new media being used to build up or break down social and community ties? Global Communications, Citizens and Cultural Politics explores the role of media and communications in relation to identity, citizenship, culture and conflict. The course is framed within lively debates over popular culture, nationalism, imperialism, and globalisation. Examples used encompass the role of films in society, celebrity politicians, cities as technology hubs, and changes in interpersonal and political relationships through social networking. The course is organised into two thematic units.

(i) An accessible introduction to key issues and tensions among prominent strands of communication research, focusing on media institutions, texts and audiences and texts in context. As well as introducing students to interesting theoretical and research perspectives, this section of the course will encourage an examination of the intersection of the themes of media, globalisation and citizenship. For instance, we will look at how media – such as films, advertisements and websites – represent issues such as poverty, migration, gender and nationalism. We will also ask questions about the ways in which different audiences respond to these representations.

(ii) A more focused examination of the ways in which organisations, civic groups, politicians and individuals based in cities or ‘imagined communities’ across the globe, utilise and participate in media to negotiate access to power and identity. We examine prominent elements of urban culture, such as technological, music and game cultures, which shape and mediate processes of identity formation at urban, national and transnational levels, while at the same time examining the use of old and new media in political campaigns.

The course neatly illustrates critical theoretical, methodological and policy-relevant considerations which will be extremely useful to those wishing for a better understanding of the changing relationships between media, citizens and learning in a globalising world. Lectures and seminars by LSE staff are supplemented with talks by reputed media researchers and practitioners.

World – Class LSE teaching

With a vibrant research culture, the LSE Department of International Relations is one of the oldest and largest in the world, and remains a leading world centre for the development of the subject. Its reputation for international excellence was recognised in the most recent National Research Assessment Exercise when the International Relations and Government Departments, received one of the highest rankings.               

On this three week intensive programme, you will engage with and learn from full-time lecturers from the LSE.




The course has no set text. Course materials will be distributed in the first lecture. For background reading, try: Banaji, S. and Buckingham, D. 2013. The Civic Web: Young People, the Internet and Civic Participation. London and New York: MIT Press.

*A more detailed reading list will be supplied prior to the start of the programme

**Course content, faculty and dates may be subject to change without prior notice



Session: Two

Dates: 10 July - 28 July 2017

Lecturer:  Dr Nick Anstead 

Level: 100 level

Fees: Click here for information

Prerequisites: None

Lectures: 36 hours 

Classes: 18 hours

Assessment*: One essay and one written examination

Typical credit**: 3-4 credits (US)
7.5 ECTS points (EU) 

How to apply?

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*assessment is optional – see FAQs

**You will need to check with your home institution. Read more about credit transfer here.