MC418      Half Unit
Communication: Cultures and Approaches

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Professor Myria Georgiou


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Media and Communications. This course is available on the MPhil/PhD in Data, Networks and Society, MPhil/PhD in Media and Communications, MSc in Gender, Media and Culture, MSc in Media and Communications (Media and Communications Governance) and MSc in Media and Communications (Research). This course is not available as an outside option.

In order to accommodate academic staff leave, and in order to maintain smaller group sizes, this course is capped, meaning there is a limit to the number of students who can be accepted.

Course content

This course examines key concepts and critical perspectives on the processes of communication that underpin social, economic and cultural relations across diverse spheres of modern life. It takes an interdisciplinary and theoretical perspective, comparing the claims and contribution of selected key approaches of communication in order to understand and critique the symbolic and material power of communication media. With a substantive focus on the shifts from mass to networked media and from national to globalised communication processes, the course offers a selective introduction to key approaches in communication. It examines a series of critical perspectives, drawing on current research debates in the field of media and communications and beyond. The course is team taught by active researchers in the field of media and communications and aims to enable students to develop their critical understanding of the communication processes central to the contemporary media and communications environment.


This course is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars totalling a minimum of 20 hours across Michaelmas Term. This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of online lectures and in-person classes/classes delivered online. This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of term.

Formative coursework

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

Indicative reading

  • Banet-Weiser, S. (2018) Empowered: Popular Feminism and Popular Misogyny, Duke University Press.
  • Benjamin, R. (2019) Race after Technology. Cambridge: Polity Press
  • Castells, M. (2009) Communication Power, Oxford University Press.
  • Chadwick, A. (2013) The Hybrid Media System, Oxford University Press.
  • Couldry, N. and U. Mejias (2019) The Cost of Connection. Stanford: Stanford University Press
  • Curran, J. and Park, M.J. (ed) (2000) De-Westernizing Media Studies (Communication and Society), Routledge.
  • Dutton, W.H. (2013) The Oxford Handbook of Internet Studies. Oxford University Press.
  • Georgiou, M. (2013) Media and the City, Polity Press.
  • Hall, S. (ed.). (1999) Representation: Cultural representations and signifying practices, Sage.
  • Iqani, M. and F. Resende (eds.) (2019) Media and the Global South: Narrative Territorialities, Cross-cultural Currents, Routledge.
  • Mansell, R. (2012) Imagining the Internet: communication, innovation, and governance, Oxford University Press.
  • McLuhan, M. (2001[1964]); Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, Routledge.
  • Silverstone, R. (2007) Media and Morality, Polity Press.
  • Udupa, S. (2018) Making news in Global India,Cambridge University Press.
  • van Dijck, J. (2013) The Culture of Connectivity, Oxford University Press.


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

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Student performance results

(2017/18 - 2019/20 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 19.6
Merit 60.4
Pass 18.1
Fail 1.9

Teachers' comment

This course offers a critical understanding of processes of communication and the ways they shape political, cultural and economic life.

A stimulating and challenging entry point to theories and concepts associated with processes of communication, this course provides students with tools to understand the formation and consequences of communication for social, political and cultural life.

Students' comments

"Theories are useful for dissertation/other classes on the course."

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Media & Communications

Total students 2020/21: 76

Average class size 2020/21: 11

Controlled access 2020/21: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills