HST680: Media and Political Culture in Modern Britain
15 credits (semester 2)
Dr. Adrian Bingham
This module explores the ways in which the media have shaped and reflected political culture in Britain since 1945. Students will examine and assess the different political traditions of the press and the broadcast media which led to the former producing unapologetically partisan coverage and the latter striving for impartiality and balance. Themes to be studied include: the treatment of party politics and general elections; the reporting of extra-parliamentary campaigns and social movements; the coverage of war, foreign policy and political violence; and the media´s role in generating political disengagement and apathy.
There will be five two-hour seminars for this course. Students will undertake a structured programme of reading, presentation and discussion, exploring the different political traditions of the print and broadcast media and analysing key debates about their impact on political affiliation and political discourse in recent decades. As well as discussing the relevant historiography, students will assess a variety of approaches and theories from other academic disciplines, including sociology, politics, cultural studies and media studies. The unit therefore serves as an introduction to the history of the media and political culture for those wishing to develop interdisciplinary approaches towards the study of the modern Britain.
Students will prepare a short paper (not more than 3000 words) which demonstrates an ability to handle bibliographical resources and which explores one of the key themes raised by an in-depth study of the media and political culture in modern Britain.
- Martin Conboy, Tabloid Britain: Constructing a community through language (London, 2006)
- James Curran and Jean Seaton, Power without Responsibility: The Press, Broadcasting and New Media in Britain, 6th edn. (London, 2003)
- Ralph Negrine, Politics and the Mass Media in Britain, 2nd edn. (London, 1994)
- Colin Seymour-Ure, The Political Impact of Mass Media (London, 1974)
- Colin Seymour-Ure, Prime Ministers and the Media: Issues of Power and Control (Oxford, 2003)
|Intended Learning Outcomes|
By the end of the module, a candidate will be able to demonstrate:
- A detailed understanding of the ways in which the media have shaped and reflected political culture in Britain since 1945.
- The ability to distinguish between and critically evaluate different schools of interpretation and historical debate on the media and political culture in Britain.
- An awareness of the contribution made by sociology, media and cultural studies to our understanding of media and politics in modern Britain.
- A practical understanding of the problems and opportunities associated with the use and interpretation of media content as evidence by historians.
- The ability to elaborate and defend an intellectual position to other members of the seminar group as well as presenting scholarly arguments and historiographical debates to them.