Sociology of Media

Università IULM

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Sociology of Media

  • Host University

    Università IULM

  • Location

    Milan, Italy

  • Area of Study

    Media Studies, Sociology

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Training objectives of the course

    By completing this course, the student should:

    - acquire specific knowledge on the evolution of mass media
    - understand the cultural consequences of network society and platforms
    - develop competencies in analyzing media and cultural productions critically and creatively
    - develop skills in describing present and future scenarios and trends in digital communication

    In the research lab, students will learn how to apply qualitative research methods, such as online ethnography and focus groups, to develop their group research paper.

    Course programme

    This course provides a general overview of the evolution of communication research, from the age of mass media to the new digital ecosystem.
    In particular, the course covers the following topics:
    - Introduction to the central concepts of the discipline
    - Classical theories of communication, including the role of the media and their effects on society
    - Historical origins of modern media such as press, photography, cinema, and television
    - The paradigm shift from mass to digital media leading to the emergence of a network and platform society
    - The global dimension of network communication: effects on geopolitics, international relations, activism and terrorism
    - The relationship between identity and media representations: gender, ethnicities, youth subcultures
    - The evolution of the Star System from the time of celebrities to the world of influencers
    - The cultural production spread on the net and the new forms of media prosumption such as Do It Yourself (DIY) cultures, convergent media and memes
    - Sociological research methods to be applied in the final part of the course (research lab), such as online ethnography and focus groups.

    Didactic Methods

    The course will be held in English and employ the following pedagogical approaches to achieve the learning objectives:

    • lectures
    • presentations by speakers from the world of business as well as international guest lecturers
    - critical discussion of the topics proposed in class
    - research lab on online ethnography and digital focus group.

    In particular, the final part of the course will be more empirical and focused on the application of sociological qualitative research methods. This active learning component will take a form of a research lab where students are divided into groups and work on a project based on the main topics discussed in class.

    The course will use an online community to share information and course materials.

    Learning assessment procedures

    The exam for both attending and non-attending students is based on 20 multiple-choice questions and one essay question (20 points out of 30 points).
    For students attending the research lab, the essay question will be replaced with a project work developed in class (10 out of 30 points).


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