Introduction to Media Theory

This page provides some basic information, and some potentially useful links, for the Introduction to Media Theory module. 


Reading List

This module offers an introduction to key ideas in media theory and research. It will also outline the political, geographical and historical context in which these ideas have emerged. At the core of the module is a concern with how people shape, and are constantly being shaped by, media. The theories introduced here are all attempts to describe and understand this relationship. Generally, theories will have their merits but will also contain blind spots. The task of students will be to understand these theories, be able to discuss them in the context of media today, and to be able to critique them. Finally, as we will see, a convergence of media forms, and a blurring of the line between producer and consumer, has prompted a long overdue convergence in media theories.


Additional Articles and Video

Lecture 1
Introduction: What are media?


Lecture 2

Media theory and Media Effects

Bandura's Bobo Doll Experiment

Lecture 3

Medium Theory

The Guardian. The Big Ideas podcast: The medium is the message 


Marshall McLuhan from Something Savage on Vimeo.


Lecture 4
From Technological Determinism to Social Shaping Perspectives

Harris, M. ‘How the Web Became Our ‘External Brain,’ and What It Means for Our Kids’. Wired 8 June 2014. 


The Innovation of Loneliness: An Animation based on the work of Sherry Turkle

Eli Pariser, Beware Online Filter Bubbles. TED Talk

Lecture 5
Ideology: The Ideology of ‘New Media’


Lecture 6
Media Forms, Ideology and Social Context


Lecture 7
Political Economy: Ownership, Control and the Audience as a Commodity

The Economist. ‘The ultimate marketing machine’ 6 July 2006. 

The Guardian. ‘Tim Berners-Lee: demand your data from Google and Facebook’. 18 April 2012.

Hodgkinson, T. ‘With Friends like these’. The Guardian. 14 January 2008. Article on the politics of facebook. 

Morozov, E. 'A dystopian welfare state funded by clicks'. The Financial Times. 3 August 2015. 


Lecture 8
The Public Sphere, Digital media and Democracy

Krönig, J. ‘A crisis in the fourth estate’. The Guardian. 16 August 2004. 

The Computational Propaganda Project, University of Oxford


Lecture 9
Media Production: networks, production models and research methods


Lecture 10
Introduction to Textual Analysis

John Berger. 1972. Ways of Seeing (BBC programme segment on advertising and glamour). 


Lecture 11
The active audience: making meaning from media


Lecture 12
Converged theory and media-related practice