Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE New Media and Society

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Media and Communications

DESCRIPTION This interdisciplinary study-unit examines the social dynamics of new media and information change. It provides an opportunity for wide-ranging analyses and insights of the social contexts and consequences of new information and communication technologies and provides a comprehensive introduction to the culture, history, technologies and theories of new media. The study unit will introduce scenarios and case studies in which digital media play an increasingly influential role in daily life. Students will be encouraged to engage with both theoretical frameworks and praxis, including contexts embedded in sociological and political theories, globalisation and popular culture. It encourages students to ask how new media becomes an ingredient in the generation of meaning and renegotiation of power - specifically in the way it orchestrates the construction, communication and contestation of perceived and experienced realities.

The study-unit is guided by a set of fundamental principles that form the basis for the types, affordances and attributes associated with new media. These will include discussions on: social media, the attention economy and digital literacies; consumer and prosumer trends; blogging affordances and limitations; mobile media disruption; news media transformation, citizen journalism and fake news; social network theory and praxis; online civic participation, digital citizenship; algorithms, filter bubbles, privacy and surveillance; and emerging theories on the future of new media, engaging with subjects such as ethics, truthfulness, lies, fairness and standards.

Study-Unit Aims:

The study-unit aims to:
• Develop awareness of the reflexive relationships between new media and everyday life and society;
• Enable students to acquire and develop a sociological imagination by analysing social and cultural conditions relating to new media;
• Introduce students to sociological theories, perspectives and key concepts relating to new media;
• Focus on the development and transfer of information in society and makes sense of the transformations in mass media and communication, influencing everyday life in contemporary society;
• Stimulate critical thinking on the impact of 21st century media and communication studies on everyday lives.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
• Critically assess the role of new media in contemporary society;
• Comprehend fundamentals of a set of 21st century skills, including digital literacies, interpersonal and content development and critical thinking;
• Demonstrate an understanding of the fundamentals of digital citizenship;
• Distinguish among a set of digital media tools and platforms as a means of engaging with target audience.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
• Set up, develop content for and manage a set of digital media tools within a new media ecosystem, including platforms such as Blogs, Facebook pages and Instagram;
• Develop and articulate a high-level new media strategy;
• Assess the strategies of key players in the political and business arena;
• Develop an online project that meets pre-set objectives.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts:

• Carah, N. & Louw, E. (2015). Media & Society. Production, Content & Participation. Sage Publications, London.
• Hanson, R.E. (2017). Mass Communication. Living in a Media World. Sixth Edition.
• Humphreys, A. (2016). Social Media. Enduring Principles. Oxford University Press.
• Ruddock, A. (2017). Exploring Media Research. Sage Publications, London.
• Schmidt, E. and Cohen, J. (2015). The New Digital Age. John Murray Publishers.

Supplementary Readings:

• Fuchs, C. (2014). Social Media. A critical introduction. Sage Publications, London.
• Laughey, D. (2009). Media Studies. Theories and Approaches. Kamera Books, UK.


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Report Yes 30%
Project Yes 70%


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2019/0, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.