Not available in 2023/24
MC428      Half Unit
Media Culture and Neoliberalism in the Global South

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Wendy Willems


This course is available on the MSc in Global Media and Communications (LSE and Fudan), MSc in Global Media and Communications (LSE and UCT), MSc in Global Media and Communications (LSE and USC), 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 controlled access, meaning that there is a limit to the number of students who can be accepted.

Course content

This course offers a comparative perspective on changing national media cultures in the Global South in the context of the neoliberal turn. The course not only considers neoliberalism as a crucial factor that has brought media industries such as private broadcasting stations, mobile phone companies and digital platforms into existence but also examines the extent to which these new forms of media and technology have played a role in reproducing neoliberalism as a process. It provides an understanding of how shifting economic policy regimes have impacted on the way in which people engage with media and technology, and how media and technology engage with people in the Global South. The first part of the course introduces the key concepts of ‘media culture’, ‘neoliberalism’ and ‘Global South’ which will be deployed throughout the course. The second part of the course discusses how key processes of social change in the Global South are linked to changing media cultures, including the commodification of national imaginaries, informality, crime and the rising middle class, religion and the prosperity gospel, self-help media and the neoliberal subject, and mobility and social relations. The course examines these themes through a series of empirically-grounded, mostly ethnographic case studies. The course encourages students to critically evaluate the extent to which the three key concepts in the course are helpful in gaining an understanding of changing media cultures in the Global South.


This course is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars totalling a minimum of 20 hours across Lent Term. This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of term.

Formative coursework

Students will complete a formative 1500 word essay based on a case study.

Indicative reading

  • Arora, P. (2019). The next billion users: digital life beyond the West. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Eckstein, L. and A. Schwarz (2014). Postcolonial piracy: media distribution and cultural production in the Global South. London: Bloomsbury.
  • Iqani, M. (2016). Consumption, media and the Global South: aspiration contested. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Prashad, V. (2013). The poorer nations: a possible history of the global South. London: Verso.
  • Shome, R. (2019). When postcolonial studies interrupts media studies. Communication, Culture & Critique 12(3): 305-22.
  • Wilson, J. A. (2018). Neoliberalism. New York: Routledge.
  • Zhang, W. and T. A. Neyazi (2020). Communication and technology theories from the South: the cases of China and India. Annals of the International Communication Association 44(1): 34-49.


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

Key facts

Department: Media and Communications

Total students 2022/23: 40

Average class size 2022/23: 13

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Lecture capture used 2022/23: Yes (LT)

Value: Half Unit

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.