Research Seminar for Media, Communications & Culture

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Professor Ellen Helsper


This course is compulsory on the MPhil/PhD in Data, Networks and Society and MPhil/PhD in Media and Communications. This course is not available as an outside option.

This course is compulsory for doctoral researchers in the first and second years of the Doctoral Programmes in the Department of Media and Communications. All doctoral researchers in the Department are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Course content

The aim of the course is to raise awareness of theoretical, conceptual and methodological issues in the interdisciplinary field of media and communications research and to develop students skills with respect to theory building, research design and implementation. The course focuses, in particular, on the key conceptual issues and analytical strategies required in media and communication research, with special reference to the study of the changing environment of media production, dissemination and consumption, under conditions of globalization and digitization of information


This course is delivered through seminars totalling a minimum of 40 hours across Michaelmas and Lent Term.

Indicative reading

  • Baym N. K. (2010) Personal Connections in the Digital Age, Polity.
  • Boltanski l. and Chiapello E. (2001) The New Spirit of Capitalism London: Verso.
  • Carey J. W. (1989) Communication as Culture New York, NY: Routledge.
  • Chadwick A. (2017) The Hybrid Media System: Politics and Power – 2nd Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Chesher C. Crawford K. and Dunne A. (2014) Understanding the Internet. Language, Technology, Media, Power London: MacMillan. Palgrave.
  • Chouliaraki L. (2013) The Ironic Spectator. Solidarity in the Age of Post-humanitarianism Cambridge: Polity.
  • Couldry, N. & Mejias, U. A. (2019) The costs of connection: How data is colonizing human life and appropriating it for capitalism. Stanford University Press.
  • Lievrow A. L. and Livingstone S. (eds.) (2006) The Handbook of New Media (updated edition) London: Sage
  • Mansell R. (2012) Imagining the Internet Oxford: OUP.
  • Mignolo W. (2012) Local histories/global designs: Coloniality, subaltern knowledges, and border thinking. Princeton University Press.
  • Papacharissi Z. (2014) Affective Publics. Oxford: OUP.
  • Wacquant L. and Bourdieu P. (1992) Introduction to Reflexive Sociology Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Silverstone R. (2006) Media and Morality. On the Rise of Mediapolis Cambridge: Polity.


This course is based predominantly on student presentations on their work in progress.

First year doctoral researchers are expected to use MC500 seminars as a key resource towards their thesis proposal at the end of their first year of study.

Key facts

Department: Media and Communications

Total students 2021/22: 16

Average class size 2021/22: 15

Value: Non-credit bearing

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

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.

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills