SOAS University of London

Centre for Media Studies, School of Arts

Communication, Culture and Politics in the Middle East: Theoretical and Analytical Approaches

Module Code:
15PMSC005
Unit value:
1
Taught in:
Full Year

This module provides a critical understanding of the theoretical and conceptual approaches to the relationship between communication, culture, arts and politics in the Middle East.
The module aims to engage critically with these approaches in order to encourage thinking beyond the Euro-centrism in communication scholarship pertaining to the Middle East.
As such, the module seeks to balance critical theoretical analysis of the hegemonic assumptions of Euro-centric approaches with practical approaches surrounding the use of contemporary media, including notably digital technologies in the Middle East. In doing so, the module provides a broad knowledge of the diversity of political and media systems in the region and the different actors involved in media and cultural production and consumption.

 

 

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the course, a student should be able to demonstrate…

  • the role of media in the contemporary Middle East.
  • the different approaches to studying the media and the Middle East, paying attention to particular situations and contexts rather than making generalised assumptions.
  • the role of media, particularly social media, in processes of political, cultural and social change.
  • the relationship between the analysis of cultural production economics, power and politics in a fluid environment, with  with reference both to normative and empirical issues

Scope and syllabus

Term 1:

Provides a critical understanding of the relationship between media culture and communication in the Middle East and interrogates assumptions about the Middle East. The approach balances critical theoretical analysis of the hegemony implied by these perspectives with practical issues surrounding the use of contemporary media, including notably digital technologies in the Middle East.
The course also explores the diversity of political and media systems in the region and the different actors involved in media production and consumption. While focusing on a communication perspective, it does not ignore other factors that need to be considered when addressing the Middle East and its development.

Term 2:

This term focuses on different spaces of cultural production, including popular culture and new media, as spaces for contestation over politics and identities. It also addresses the various actors and spaces involved or excluded from these spaces.
The term sees communication as involving a range of differentiated practices, including the economic, political and socio-cultural, without losing sight of the structural issues as well as the contexts of cultural production and consumption.  Such issues are best addressed by a range of issue-based topics that focus on a specific medium or social issue.

Timetable

Two hours of lectures and two hours of seminars per week for 20 weeks.

Method of assessment

Coursework: two 5,000 word essays, each worth 50%

Disclaimer

Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules