Popular Culture & the Media

In this course students will answer the question 'Why?' by using cultural analysis to connect what's 'popular' to what's going on in our society. By taking a closer look at the movies and television shows they watch, the clothes they wear, and the music they listen to, students will endeavour to understand the role of popular culture in maintaining and reproducing the kind of society we live in. What messages are intended by the producers of mass media and what messages are received by their consumers? Popular culture will be investigated from a sociological perspective with an emphasis on North America with Canadian content as available. We will explore the ways in which each of us is both a user of and is used by popular culture. Popular culture is all around us, influencing how we think, how we feel, how we relate, how we live our lives in countless ways. This course will use your own expertise as consumers of popular culture as a take-off point for exploring the various roles played by mass-mediated popular culture in our lives. We will look primarily at television, film, advertising, and popular music, with occasional forays into other types of pop culture. We will analyze how such critical factors as ethnicity, race, gender, class, age, and sexuality are shaped by and reshaped in popular culture. The course considers the four main dimensions of cultural analysis to understand and critique pop culture: 1) Production Analysis (who owns the media? who makes these texts? with what intentions? under what technical constraints? How elitist is the production of popular culture? how much is commerce? how much creative expression?) 2) Textual Analysis (how do specific works of popular culture make their meanings? how do explicit meanings differ from implied ones? how do texts consciously and subconsciously shape those who hear, see, or touch them?) 3) Audience Analysis (how do different groups of popular culture consumers, or users, make similar or different sense of the same texts and what role does the audience play in perpetuating cultural ideologies and myths?) 4) H

Course Code: 
Area of Interest: 
Education, Community & Social Services


Thank you for your interest in this course. At this time, there are no upcoming classes scheduled. New offerings in future terms will appear below so you are encouraged to check back again throughout the year. To inquire about when upcoming classes might be planned, please fill in the form on this page and we will respond shortly.