Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Title Popular Culture, Language and Politics
Code COMM738
Coordinator Dr LCS Way
Communication and Media
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2022-23 Level 7 FHEQ Second Semester 15


This module aims to provide students with an understanding of the role of popular culture in society, and politics in particular. It aims to enable students to critically consider the role of writing, speech, imagery and sound in articulating political discourses in popular culture. It will provide an advanced understanding for students to either advance in their postgraduate studies and/ or be used in communicative careers such as in media and public relations. It will also create opportunities and understanding for independent projects and thesis which consider communication discursively.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Critically consider similarities and differences between the communicative properties of various modes of communication.

(LO2) Apply linguistically-derived concepts to a range of popular cultural texts.

(LO3) Advance understanding of theoretical issues within which the study of media language is a part of.

(LO4) Learn to critically analyse texts through a range of discursive approaches.

(S1) Collate, organise and deploy ideas and information in order to formulate arguments cogently, and express them effectively in written, oral or other forms.

(S2) Communication, listening and questioning respecting others, contributing to discussions, influencing.

(S3) Engage critically with major thinkers and debates within the field, putting them to productive use.

(S4) Make critical judgements in the understanding and evaluation of these forms.

(S5) Appreciate and apply ethical consideration and judgement to analysis of production, distribution and consumption in communication, media, film and culture.



This module develops content from a range of first, second and third year modules which examine the roles language and media play in society and politics. These concepts are advanced and put into practice by analysing popular cultural artefacts. Content for this module may include:

Introduce the concepts of popular culture and examine relations between popular culture and politics according to Arnold and Leavis, Marxism, Culturalism and Structuralism (Reading: John Storey).

Critical examinations of language in context - The case for CDA (Reading: Fairclough 2003, Wodak 2001)

Approaches to examining discourse in popular culture, focusing on the representation of social actors and actions (Reading: van Leeuwen 1995, 1996)

Examine case studies where we use a variety of discursive approaches to analyse the politics in popular culture. Case studies may include:

The Tabloid Press from a Critical Linguistic approach (Lecture by Franco Zappettini)
The langu age used in film from a CDA approach (Reading: van Leeuwen and Machin 2005)
Imagery used in television (Reading: Reading Images from Kress and van Leeuwen (1996)
Image and written text in digital popular culture (Reading: KhosraviNik 2017)

An in-depth examination of popular music and its articulation of politics including:

Perspectives on the analysis of politics and popular music including Sociology, socio-linguistics and critical musicology (Reading: Machin 2010; Way 2018)
Populism in Turkish protest music. (Reading: De Cleen and Carpentier 2010; Way 2016).
Music and resistance in the West from a musicology informed discourse studies perspective. (Reading: Powers and Dillane 2012: 2019).
Popular music and party politics from a sociological-informed MCDS approach. (Readings: Street 1988 and Way 2019).

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Teaching method - Lecture
Description - Lectures use case studies and examples to illustrate theoretical concepts and approaches.
Attendance recorded - Yes

Teaching method - Seminar
Description - Seminars combine discussion of set readings with practical analysis of popular cultural artefacts.
Attendance recorded - Yes

Self-directed learning - These hours should be used to do the assigned weekly readings, research individual papers and other outside research which will enhance student understanding.

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours 12


Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 126


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Course essay - gathering, selecting, synthesising and presenting information, developing an argument, understanding, synthesis, analysis and evaluation, writing skills. There is a resit opportunity.     100       

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.