Module Catalogue 2019/20

MCH3085 : Digital Discourses and Identity

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Majid Khosravinik
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



1-       To extend students’ conceptual understanding around digital media communications
2-       To provide an in-depth approach in analysing digitally mediated communication contents and practices
3-       To explain how traditional concepts in media and cultural studies can be applied in the new digital context along with challenges and redefinitions
4-       To equip students with conceptual and methodological tools to carry out primary research on social media discourses around various aspects of personal and collective identity
5-       To familiarise students with approaches to digital ethnography, discourse analysis in digital media environment and ways to devise a critical synergy between ‘old’ and new theories and methods.
6-       To familiar students with macro industrial contexts in which social media work e.g. attention economy, digital economy of platforms and critique of corporatisation of participatory web.

The module will discuss digital media theories and the impacts of social media interactions on issues of representation, self-perception, and cultural understandings in the society. It provides a set of explicit concepts in relations to the way digital media spaces and user practices and the way digital media consumption should be viewed as a new paradigm of communication in contrast to traditional media. The module provides the necessary scholarship for digital media studies with an emphasis on analysing what people say on social media, what they do through and via their digital connections and interactions and how the technology is implicated in the way certain discourses, presentations, understandings and cultural views are consolidated in the contemporary society especially among the youth. It emphasises the social nature of research on digital discourses (i.e. all forms of digital content e.g. memes, language, videos, comments, smileys, selfies, annotations, and practices e.g. patterns of Likes, Sharing, networks, etc.) in different social, political and cultural contexts from issues of gender representation, lifestyle and interpersonal relations to digital hate speech and politics of protests and nationalism. The module is built on an emerging field of study under the rubrics of Social Media Discourse Studies and Social Media Techno-Discursive Analysis by the module leader. It engages students to focus on everyday social media practices e.g. self-representation of teenagers Instagram with a critical and theoretical lens in order to carry out an in-depth analysis at the intersection of contemporary culture, digital media technologies and discourse analysis. The module encourages students to concentrate on a digital topic of their choice and carry a step by step three legged research based assessment tasks based on the topic.

Outline Of Syllabus

Topics covered:
Social Media Theories
Digital Discourse and Society
Digital Representational Power
Digital identity & the Youth
Digital Ethnography/observations
Digital Political Economy
Multimodal Digital representations
Digital Self Representation
Digital Nationalism and populism
Social Media Discourse Studies
Techno-Discursive Analysis

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

By the end of the module, students are expected to be able to: 1. critically understand the changes in dynamic of power in contemporary media 2. Be familiar with observational methods of doing discourse analysis on the communicative content 3. Deepen their critical understanding of impacts of participatory web on distributing, modifying and changing social, political and cultural representations and perceptions. 3. Get to know differences in how affordances of new media may be used in different socio-political context. 4. Be familiar with digital media technological design and their macro structural impact on society 5. Experienced in carrying out a small first hand research on a social topic reflected on social media (or vice versa) by applying the theoretical and methodological approaches learned.

Intended Skill Outcomes

By the end of the module, students will have developed theoretical, analytical and organization skills along with critical thinking. Students will be expected to choose a case study of their own and present the media specification and socio-cultural relevance of the case e.g. affordances of the platform, norms of communicative practice, social relevance of the practice and emerging influence of it. The students will give an oral presentation, which enhances their skills in public speaking, organization of material, time keeping and slide show design. The students will also be assessed based on an essay which will demonstrate their ability to a. theoretically position their case study and b. carry out a primary data analysis of communicative content of their case study including verbal language, photos, music etc.
The students will gather, organize and deploy a range of theoretical ideas from secondary sources and formulate arguments and present them effectively in oral and written forms.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture122:0024:00Lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion182:0082:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00Seminars
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study182:0082:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship


Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Oral Presentation152M1510 - 15 minutes. Scheduled by module leader.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report2M201000 word reflective report of the chosen case study
Essay2A652000 word academic essay
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The presentation requires students to choose a particular case study on a given social media communication space (as defined in the course) e.g. Wiki, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and present the case in terms of its nature, participatory affordances, impact, scale, relevance and social-cultural consequences by drawing on some relevant theories and concepts. Students will write a report of the presentation and the case by drawing on the feedback from their presentation.

The essay is a 2000 word piece of assessment, which will include a theoretical contextualisation of the chosen case, a main data analytical section and critical reflections. The essay allows students to demonstrate critical and evaluative skills and stresses the importance of working to deadline.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2019/20 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2020/21 entry will be published here in early-April 2019. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.