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COURSE NAME: "Media, Culture and Society"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2023

INSTRUCTOR: Antonio Lopez
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 8:30 AM 9:45 AM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: COM 111

This course examines the mass media as complex social institutions that exercise multiple roles in society—none more crucial than the circulation and validation of social discourses. Introducing students to a variety of theoretical approaches, the course focuses on media operations and textual analysis.

The course is divided in three main parts. The first part will focus on the analysis of the main elements of the media (media technologies, the organization of the media industry, media content and media users). The second part, Media, Power and Control, addresses questions of media power, manipulation, the construction of news, public service broadcasting, censorship, commercialization. The third and final part, Media, Identity and Culture, will focus on issues of media and ethnicity, gender, subcultures, audiences and fans.



1. Learn how to distinguish mass media from other types of media and gain a better understanding of various forms of communication developed by humans over time.

2. Develop an understanding of the origins, forces, and principles that helped shape the media.

3. Learn how to critically evaluate the relationship between media, culture and society.

4. Develop an awareness of legal and ethical issues that media users and practitioners may face.

5. Examine current and future trends in media and how media are changing in the 21st century.

6. Gain a better understanding of media’s effects on themselves, society, culture, religion, politics, and populations.

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberCommentsFormatLocal BookstoreOnline Purchase
Media, Culture and Society: An Introduction 2nd EditionPaul HodkinsonSage1473902363     
Revolutions in Communication: Media History from Gutenberg to the Digital Age 2nd EditionBill KovarikBloomsbury1628924780     

Mid-Term Exam 30%
Research paper 30%
Final Exam  30%
Attendance and participation 10%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the cour
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.


Classes often cover material not in the required readings. More importantly, the class is build around discussion. Students who miss class do poorly on exams and it impacts the final grade, so not only is your attendance grade impacted by absences, but your test grades will be too. Students are allowed up to two unexcused absences. Three or more unexcused absences will result in an automatic loss of a letter grade.  Additionally you are required to look at the videos posted for the week on the class Website (they will be part of the exams).

As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


This schedule is subject to change. Additional supplemental readings will be distributed on a weekly basis. Please check the class Moodle site for updates and current schedule.


  • Media, Culture and Society (second edition), Paul Hodkinson (MCS)
  • Revolutions in Communication, Bill Kovarik (RIC)
Additional readings TBA (see class website for PDFs)

Week 1-2: Intro

Media Culture and Society: 1
Questioning the Media (read Chapters 1 and 3)

Week 3: Technology and communication

Media Culture and Society: 2

Revolutions in Communication: 1

Questioning the Media: Ch. 4 (“How Media are Born and Develop,” Winston, in the PDF from week 1).

 Postman-five-things-we know (PDF)

 luddite-manifesto (PDF)

 Lessons from the Luddites by Kirkpatrick Sale, From THE NATION, June 5, 1995 URL

Week 4: Media Industries: Printing Revolutions (Writing, print, newspapers, magazines)


Revolutions in Communication: 2-3

Questioning the Media: Ch. 2 (“Forms of Media as Ways of Knowing,” Sreberny-Mohammadi, in PDF from week 1)

“The origins of writing” (Web link)

Week 5-6: Media Industries: Visual Revolution (photography, cinema, advertising, PR, crafted image)

Revolutions in Communication: 4-6

Media Culture and Society: 9

Kellner - Advertising and Consumer Culture (PDF)

People Don’t Buy Products, They Buy Better Versions of Themselves (PDF)

Week 7: Electronic Revolution (telegraph, radio, TV)

Revolutions in Communication 7-9

Week 8: Midterm

Catch up and review

Weeks 9-10: Political Economy and Public Sphere: Media Industry and Ideology

Media Culture and Society 3, 6, 8

What "Makes Mainstream Media Mainstream," Noam Chomsky (PDF)

 "The New Media Giants: Changing Industry Structure," David Croteau & William Hoynes (PDF)

Week 11: Construction of News and public sphere

Media Culture and Society 7, 10

"Media in the US Political Economy," Herman (PDF)

Week 12: Media Content and Media Users: Effects

Media Culture and Society 5

Gandy - Tracking the Audience (PDF)

Ang - The Nature of the Audience (PDF)

Week 13: Media Content and Media Users: Media Texts

Media Culture and Society: 4, 12

Jhally - Image Based Culture (PDF)

Week 14: Race and Ethnicity; Media, Gender and Sexuality

Media Culture and Society 11, 13-14

 "Racism and the American Way of Media," Ash Corea (PDF)

 Van Zoonen - Gender Representation and the Media (PDF)