COMS305-22S1 (C) Semester One 2022

Media and Social Change

30 points

Start Date: Monday, 21 February 2022
End Date: Sunday, 26 June 2022
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 6 March 2022
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 15 May 2022


This course analyses the role of the media in social change and question whether media can, in fact, produce consensus within society, and if those changes are controllable by the artist/writer/producer, the audience, or the state. It does this by exploring theoretical underpinnings of societal shifts through the framework of the media as an important institution in society and in the construction of social reality. The course will invite students to further understand the role of the media in power relations by analysing such notions and processes as ideology, hegemony, representations, and media ethics.

Mass media have been dismissed, applauded and blamed as major vehicles for social control and/or social change. This paper will examine these positions and question if media can, in fact, produce consensus within society, and if those changes are controllable by the audience, the state or the artist/writer/producer. This course examines how media and media-related practices have reflected and reshaped today’s society, and how the changing social conditions are reshaping our understandings of media in the twenty-first century. This course will explore relationships between the various components of the media process and discuss specific case examples from a variety of international contexts in which mass media appear to have played an important role in shaping ideology and opinion. Alternatively, this course will examine historical cases where media exposure may have had contradictory and unexpected results. This course will explore both classical themes in the studies of media and society (e.g. ideology, hegemony, media industry, representation, race, and gender and sex) and new frontiers in media studies and social changes (e.g. big data, social media, algorithm, digital surveillance and privacy).    

This course can be used towards an major or minor in Media and Communication under the Bachelor of Arts or can be applied toward an elective for the Bachelor of Communication or it can be taken as part of the Social Action, Community and Global Development major in the Bachelor of Social and Environmental Sustainability.

Learning Outcomes

  • Learning Outcomes
  • Understand the relationships among relevant actors including state powers, corporate interests, NGOs, social movements, artists and independent media producers
  • Debate issues over cultural imperialism, hegemony, representation and ideology
  • Have a conceptual understanding of the economics of the media industry worldwide
  • Consider the ideological, ethical and political implications of global media production
    and analysis
  • Understand how intersectionality and positionality impacts our understanding of orientalism, gender and sexuality
  • Critically examine the relationship between social inequality and media representation
  • Connect theoretical knowledge with established and emerging media practices in everyday life
  • Apply critical thinking to explore and explain the underlying social changes behind the global media landscape
  • Present analyses of media texts and media practices
  • Write clear and persuasive analytical media critiques
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

      Employable, innovative and enterprising

      Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

      Biculturally competent and confident

      Students will be aware of and understand the nature of biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand, and its relevance to their area of study and/or their degree.

      Globally aware

      Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.


Any 30 points at 200 level from COMS, or
any 60 points at 200 level from the Schedule V of the BA.

Timetable 2022

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 14:00 - 16:00 A8 Lecture Theatre
21 Feb - 10 Apr
2 May - 5 Jun
Lecture B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Thursday 14:00 - 16:00 E14 Lecture Theatre
21 Feb - 10 Apr
2 May - 5 Jun

Course Coordinator

Linda Jean Kenix


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Portfolio Tasks 25% 5 tasks at 5% each. Select Wednesdays at 1pm
In class Quizzes 10% 4 x quizzes at 2.5% each, unannounced
Essay 06 Apr 2022 25%
Group Presentation Plan 04 May 2022 5%
Group Presentations 15%
test 02 Jun 2022 20%

Course links

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,597.00

International fee $7,200.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Language, Social and Political Sciences .

All COMS305 Occurrences

  • COMS305-22S1 (C) Semester One 2022