SOCIO203-21X (SPE)

Popular Culture

15 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
School of Social Sciences
Sociology and Social Policy


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Paper Description

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This paper examines a range of concepts, theories and debates characterising the development of popular cultural studies as a field of inquiry. In particular, this paper emphasizes a Cultural Sociology framework that sees culture as intimately connected to the social and power relations of everyday life. The point of departure is Raymond Williams’ assertion that culture is the product of ordinary material life, produced by all social actors, rather than only by the privileged elite.

Popular culture is critically analysed within the context of the cultural industries that have commercialised and commodified the production of culture in late/post-modernity. The paper highlights the tensions between the contradictory elements that characterise contemporary popular culture; such as its being highly commercialised, whilst also a site for the public communication of (at times) critical and resistant discourses and practices.

Note: Information contained in this paper outline may be subject to change.

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Paper Structure

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This paper is taught through lectures and tutorials.
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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the paper should be able to:

  • situate a variety of popular cultural forms within their wider social and cultural context(s),
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  • analyse forms of popular culture as sites of cultural power and its contestation.
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  • develop your understanding of the cultural politics of representation, identity construction and public communication,
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  • enhance your capacities as an independent learner by developing conceptual, analytical and critical thinking skills.
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More information about each assignment will be detailed in class.

The weights and dates for each piece of assessment are distributed as follows:

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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 70:30. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 30% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 70:30 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 30% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Attendance & Participation
2. Test 1 (Week 5)
  • In Class: In Lecture
3. Test 2 (Week 7)
  • In Class: In Lecture
4. Assignment (Week 10)
9 May 2021
7:00 PM
  • Other: Blackboard
5. Exam
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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SOCY203-SISU Popular Culture Course Reader
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Online Support

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Further information about online support will be discussed in class.
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The expected workload for this paper is at least 9-10 hours per week throughout the shortened semester.

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Linkages to Other Papers

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Restricted papers: SOCY202

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