FMS9M1: Media I: Representation, Meaning & Identity


Every day we are surrounded by the media.  We now watch more television than ever, but at the same time we multitask – sharing opinions with friends and family via a range of social networking tools.  We have access to almost limitless sources of news, and we are bombarded by advertising images in both public and private space.  The aim of this module is to introduce students to a range of theories and theoretical tools used to analyse a variety of media texts, and that enable us to get beneath the  superficial/’common sense’ approach to the understanding of media.  The module will begin with a consideration of the way in which we use the media – highlighting the shift from an approach that viewed the audience as passive consumers of media culture to one that offers a much more complex and nuanced understanding of how we engage with media texts.  We will then explore key concepts such as the significance of narrative, the importance of media representations, and the role media plays in the formation of identity.  Theoretical approaches will include an introduction to ideology and discourse, and students will be given the opportunity practice using tools such as semiotic analysis.  The module will lay the groundwork for further study in film and media.  It is therefore important that, as part of the module, students are willing to engage with a range of media forms and genres.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of the module students should be able to:

v  Distinguish between a range of media genres and forms.

v  Use a range of theoretical tools to analyse media texts.

v  Identify different forms of narrative and explain their significance.

v  Understand the key critical debates on the media and representation.

v  Explain the ways in which the media contributes to the formation of identity.


Teaching will take the form of a two hour lecture and a one hour seminar/workshop each week.  You should expect to supplement this with several hours of independent study each week.

Module Co-ordinator:     Dr Katharina Lindner

Guide to Reading:

Your starting point should be the following chapters of Gill Branston and Roy Stafford (2010) The Media Student’s Book, 5E, London: Routledge (also available as an e-book):

v  Chapter 1: Approaching Media Texts

v  Chapter 2: Narratives

v  Chapter 3: Genres and other Classifications.

v  Chapter 4: Representations

v  Chapter 6: Ideology and Discourses

v  Chapter 13: Documentary and ‘Reality’ Debates

v  Chapter 14: From ‘Audience’ to ‘Users’

You will also find it useful to read Nick Lacey (2009) Image and Representation: Key Concepts in Media Studies, 2E, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, and Nick Lacey (2000) Narrative and Genre: Key Concepts in Media Studies, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Other books worth consulting as introductory texts are:

v  David Gauntlett (2008) Media, Gender and Identity: An Introduction, 2E, Hoboken: Taylor & Francis (also available as an e-book via the Library Catalogue).

v  Kevin Williams (2003) Understanding Media Theory, London: Arnold.  A new edition of this book is due for publication in October 2013. 

In addition specific readings and resources will be recommended to support each week’s lecture and workshop.


Daniel Chandler’s website Semiotics for Beginners can be accessed at

You can access a range of material from David Gauntlett at:

Additional Resources:

Succeed will be used as a platform to support access to a range of online resources.  It will also be important for students to ensure that they engage with a range of media forms and genres in order to have a body of material to draw on for seminar/workshops and assignments.


There are two components to the assessment.  Each is worth 50%.

v  Essay of 2,000 words (+/-10%)

v  Three hour end of semester examination:

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