MC407      Half Unit
International Media and The Global South

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Shakuntala Banaji STC. S103


This course is available on the MSc in Global Media and Communications (LSE and Fudan), MSc in Global Media and Communications (LSE and USC), MSc in Media and Communications, MSc in Media and Communications (Data and Society), MSc in Media and Communications (Media and Communications Governance), MSc in Media and Communications (Research), MSc in Media, Communication and Development and MSc in Politics and Communication. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

In order to accommodate academic staff research leave and sabbaticals, and in order to maintain smaller seminar group sizes, this course is capped, meaning that there is a limit to the number of students who can be accepted. Whilst we do our best to accommodate all requests, we cannot guarantee you a place on this course.

Course content

This course challenges students to raise questions about the power and role of international media - including media originating in the global south - in shaping global discourses about development, citizens and the global south. Building on empirical examples, the lectures aim to demonstrate that the reporting and discussion of poverty, disasters, political unrest, underdevelopment and development by international media organizations has implications, not only for the way the global south and its diverse populations are imagined and represented, but also for the arena of international and national policy and politics. From different theoretical perspectives, the course critically investigates key questions concerning the role of international, national, NGO and subaltern media in development, including the failure of the dominant modernization paradigm to 'pass away'. The course offers insight into how to approach the study of media constructions, discourses and representations of, and about, the global south and its citizens. The objectives are to: (a) Introduce debates about how media power shapes international development discourses and political realities for citizens in the global south; (b) Link dominant development theories to the paradigms of mediated NGO development interventions; (c) Provide a postcolonial critique of the study of representations of poverty, development, participation and the global south; (d) Critically assess aspects of the political economy of international media production within the contexts in which both local media groups and NGOs research, package and produce information about international development, especially in and about the global south and (e) Investigate whether and in what ways new and mobile technologies, and small and participatory media formats enable alternative voices and critical frameworks from the global south to be heard. The course is organized into three sections: 1) a historical and theoretical overview of international media, development and the global south locating the debate(s) around development and communication within postcolonial and other critical frameworks, 2) Critical perspectives, drawn selectively from studies of development theory, political economy and cultural studies and pertaining to identity, ideology, representation, regulatory frameworks, good governance and democracy and 3) Cases and practices in reporting development, poverty, inequality and humanitarian issues. Cross-cutting themes will include a consideration of gender, NGO communications, ethnic and social conflict, tourism campaigns, social media and ICTs in the context of international media and change in the global south.


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

Formative coursework

All students are expected to complete advance reading, prepare seminar presentations, and submit one essay of 1,500 words.

Indicative reading

Abbas, M. A. and J. N. Erni (2004) (eds.) Internationalizing Cultural Studies: an Anthology. Oxford: Blackwell;

Banaji, S. (Ed.). South Asian Media Cultures: Audiences, Representations, Contexts. London and New York: Anthem Press;

Banaji, S. and Buckingham, D. (2013) The Civic Web: Young People, the Internet and Civic Participation. Massachussets: MIT Press;

Baaz, M. E. (2005) The Paternalism of Partnership: A Postcolonial Reading of Identity and Development Aid London and New York, Zed Books;

Eisenstein, Z. (2004) Against Empire. London, New York: Zed Press;

Hall, S (ed.) (1997) Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices, Thousand Oaks CA: Sage Publications;

Hayter, T. (1990) The Creation of World Poverty. London: Pluto Press. Hemer, O. and Tufte, T. (eds) (2005) Media and Global Change: Rethinking Communication for Development, Clacso and NORDICOM;

Independent Commission for the Study of Communication Problems (ICSCP) (1980/2004) Many Voices, One World: Communication and Society, Today and Tomorrow; Towards a New More Just and More Efficient World Information and Communication Order. (MacBride Report) London, New York and Paris: Kogan Page and UNESCO.

Kovats-Bernat, J. C. (2006) Sleeping Rough in Port-au-Prince: an Ethnography of Street Children and Violence in Haiti. Florida: University of Florida Press;

Lerner, D., and Schramm, W. (1967) Communication and Change in the Developing Countries. Honolulu: East-West Center Press;

Matos, C. (2012) Media and Politics in Latin America: globalisation, democracy and identity. New York: I.B. Tauris;

Mignolo, W. (2012). The Darker Side of Western Modernity: Global Futures, Decolonial Options. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Mody, B. (ed) (2003) International and Development Communication: A 21st Century Perspective. 2nd Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage;

Said, E. (1979) Orientalism. New York: Vintage; Schramm, W. (1964). Mass Media in National Development. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press;

Servaes, J (ed.) (2008) Communication for Development and Social Change. New Delhi: Sage;



Essay (100%, 3000 words) in the ST.

Student performance results

(2011/12 - 2013/14 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 35.1
Merit 54.7
Pass 10.1
Fail 0

Teachers' comment

Using theoretical and empirical examples, this course challenges students to raise questions about the power and role of international media, including NGO and non-western media, in reporting on, representing and shaping discourses about poverty, disasters, development and the everyday lives of citizens in the global south.

Students' comments

"I love the way of discussing complex materials through role playing. It pushes me to think about the relationship between theory and practice."

Key facts

Department: Media & Communications

Total students 2014/15: 51

Average class size 2014/15: 17

Controlled access 2014/15: Yes

Lecture capture used 2014/15: Yes (LT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication