Popular Culture and Digital Lives
SO4291 Popular Culture and Digital Lives (15 ECTS)
Lecturer(s): DrBarbara Bradby and DrAnne Holohan
Part I of this module, Gender and Popular Culture, looks at the way gender is represented in popular culture, and at ways in which popular culture is used by audiences in gendered ways. It does so by examining a range of areas of popular culture: film, soap opera, formula romance fiction, rock music, gay discos, etc. We will use both structuralist approaches, which analyse examples of cultural products to see what gendered meanings they contain; and ethnographic approaches to the study of audiences, to see what gendered meanings they take from popular culture. The module is participatory and student-led by means of: short group-presentations, discussion of academic readings in seminar groups, bringing your own examples to 'workshop' discussions, e-mail discussion of popular culture.
Part II, Digital Lives, looks at the changes wrought by, and the evolving meanings given to, new technologies in human lives. It does this by exploring the relationship between technology and community; by looking at the roots and vision of social cyberspace; by examining the role of networks and online social networks; and through thinking about the implications of engagement with technologies for collective action, the public sphere and identity. We will include practical investigation of Twitter, Wikipedia, Social Media, and ubiquitous computing.
Students successfully completing the module will be able to:
- apply different theoretical and methodological approaches to gender and popular culture;
- analyse a series of examples of popular culture across different genres;
- engage with theories of the networked society and the 'information age';
- critically appraise the impact of new technologies in different spheres of human endeavour.
Lectures & Tutorials/ Contact hours:
1-hour lecture and 1-hour tutorial per student per week.
Lectures: 22 hrs; Tutorials: 22 hrs; Exams/assignments: 22 hrs; Self-study: 284 hrs. Total: 350 hours.
Recommended texts/ Key Reading:
- MacDonald, M. Representing Women: myths of femininity in the popular media (Edward Arnold, 1995)
- McRobbie, A. The Aftermath of Feminism: Gender, Culture and Social Change (Sage, 2008)
- Benkler, Y. The Wealth of Networks. Yale University Press 2007.
Shirkey, C. Here Comes Everybody. Penguin 2008.
- Penalties for late submission: Without an authorised extension, the mark given will be lowered by one grade
- Course work (50%).
- Annual exam (50%)
- Examination: 1 x 3-hour