Media Entertainment

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Media Entertainment

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study

    Media Studies

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

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

    At the end of the course, students will: 

    • Have a clear overview of most important and well-discussed issues regarding media use and effects from a perspective of entertainment.
    • Be able to answer important questions about media entertainment that have intrigued the public for decades in a competent and scientifically appropriate way.
    • Be able to study the results of significant research and empirical studies published in the domain of media entertainment
    • Develop a better idea of how knowledge is generated within social scientific research, in particular media and communication, theoretically and methodologically.

    This class will provide an overview about the most important theoretical models and empirical findings in the field of media entertainment research and more recent theorizing on media use from an entertainment perspective. After a look into the history of (media) entertainment and the sociological notion of culture, the class will focus on the psychological underpinnings of media entertainment. We will discuss classic topics such as Escapism, Catharsis, Identification, Cultivation, Mood Management, Parasocial Interactions, Fandom, Horror, Humor, Suspense, Eudaimonia, Intrinsic Needs, and Social Media, among others.

    Furthermore, we will tap into related and more recently studied questions such as: Why do people seek enjoyment from sad and “negative” media? Why do we like “bad” characters? What makes a funny sitcom? Who is fascinated by video games and why? How do girls and boys differ in their preferences for entertaining media content? Is there entertainment value in the news? What is interactive entertainment and how does it differ from traditional media entertainment?

    Each week, students will read obligatory key articles about several of these topics. The class will consist of lectures that deal with these articles and also provide additional information about each topic. One focus of the class will lie on increasing students' theoretical understanding of highlighted topics in the field of media and entertainment, while another focus lies on the design and results of core empirical studies that illuminate media entertainment research. Accordingly, most lectures will discuss a selection of the best empirical studies related to the topic of the lecture.

    In addition to the reading of obligatory articles, students will share and substantiate their opinion about what has been addressed in class during the planned workgroup sessions, which consist of three group presentation assignments relevant to class goals.

    Lectures and workgroups.

    The final grade will consist of an individual digital examination with multiple choice and short answer questions (60%), plus group presentations and short written assignments (40% in total). Students must pass the exam at a threshold of 26/40 items, in addition to completing the assignments.

    The obligatory literature will include published journal articles and chapters. These will be available prior to each lecture via online databases.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Some courses may require additional fees.


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