Study Abroad and Exchanges



MCH3067 : Television: Texts, Genres and Screens

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module aims to:

1. Enable students to understand the changing significance of television in systems of mass communication, in cultures, and in human relationships.

2. Provide a critical understanding of the key theoretical approaches to the study of television and encourage students to consolidate these critical skills in their study of television texts, contexts and audiences.

3. Provide a critical understanding of the key production processes and techniques of television.

4. Discuss and evaluate recent debates surrounding the changing function and value of television in contemporary national and international cultures (e.g. the impact of digitalization, the rise of global television, marketization and public service broadcasting, transmedia television)

5. Examine and assess studies of television in relation to audiences, texts, industry, regulation, and policy.

Television: Texts, Genres and Screens is a relatively new discipline which engages with what is the most pervasive and prevalent of the communication mediums. As a medium, television shapes how individuals and communities perceive and make sense of local and international spheres, and offers representational frameworks through which subjects construct a sense of identity. Television is seen by its critics as a problem: lowering moral standards, vulgar, having a negative impact on violence, behaviour, and motivation. Yet television is also used to bring communities together, shaping the values and opinions which serve to shape 'national' identities, represent minority communities and issues, and acts as a significant point of emotional engagement and attachment.

Television: Texts, Genres and Screens examines these tensions and approaches television as a psychological, social and cultural form, as well as an economic and political one.

This module will examine the principal themes, issues, and debates in contemporary television studies, and explore possible future directions. The module will allow students to both develop a detailed understanding of principal perspectives in the analysis of factual and fictional television output, and to explore and evaluate empirical and theoretical tools for the understanding of television in recent history.

The module will include analyses of key issues, including TV audiences and identities, methods of textual analysis, social and critical theory and television, technological and economic changes and challenges, and issues in TV history and contemporary output. This includes topics such as quality and programming, reality TV, drama, soap and documentary, genre and textual analysis, the development of television at key moments in television history, and questions of the relationship between television and social formations in public and private spheres such as class, gender, national identity, and race.

Outline Of Syllabus

Television: Texts, Genres and Screens: key concepts and disciplinary history

National television, mass communication and the public sphere, marketization, policy and regulation

Genre: soap, documentary, fact and fiction, hybrid genres

Audience studies, television consumption, media effects and ideology

Reality television: celebrity, spectacle, visibility

Makeover television: identity, social and cultural taste

Representation, fandom and the emotional politics of television

Post-broadcasting, transmedia and digital television

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion250:00100:00Two assessments
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture122:0024:00Lecture
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading124:0024:00Weekly key text and further reading
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00Seminars
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity120:0020:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity120:0020:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module aims to encourage the development and comprehension of television (content, form, production, and consumption). Lectures introduce and develop ideas and supporting seminars allows students to consider material in more detail. Students support this scheduled learning with student-led critical viewing and reflective discussion sessions, which will enable them to explore ideas and consolidate skills for their Project Work. A mixture of lecture, seminar, small-group work and spoken presentations will be combined with private study, essay writing and project work development.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2A70Essay, 2500 words
Portfolio2M30Critical Assessment Essay, 1500 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Project Work allows students to measure theories of flow, production, and consumption in popular media. This assessment asks students to focus upon a specific television text and to consider how it (re)produces social and cultural meaning, using the conceptual models of the module. This assessment represents the cumulation of ongoing critical viewing work which they are asked to reflect upon in student-led group sessions. This fits well with formative side of the module as well as realities of ‘life’ in media industries (e.g. the log of work in production settings). It also enables students to consolidate their analysis and evaluative skills by applying themselves to an example of their own choosing.

The longer essay will allow students to bring together critical and evaluative skills in an extended piece of work. They are asked to respond to one of a list of essay questions set by the Convenor, drawing upon conceptual and empirical material introduced in the module as well as social and cultural theories of television production and consumption.

These assessments allow students to establish practical, theoretical, critical and evaluative skills and stress the importance of working to deadlines and goals.

Reading Lists