Arts, Culture and Commodification: Themes in the Global Creative and Cultural Industries

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Year 2, Year 3 or Year 4
Term 2
Module code
FHEQ Level
School of Arts

Module overview

The course is designed to explore themes – around the emergence of the cultural industries, the commodification of art and culture and the potentialities of digital culture – that are relevant across Media, Music and Arts and Archaeology, and to bring together expertise from each department in a team-taught course.

It will give students an overview of the history and scale of the global cultural industries and how they intersect with politics, the economy, and ideas of the self and of community. It will use case studies drawn from across SOAS regions to ground the course in specific examples that address transnational and localised framings.

The course is designed to bring together theoretical perspectives and practical examples and to raise questions around work and careers in the cultural industries that will enable students to consider the connections between their undergraduate studies and their future careers. It will also serve as an on-ramp and taster for students considering postgraduate study at SOAS, since it features introductions to themes and teaching staff who offer more detailed courses at postgraduate level (including MA in Global Creative and Cultural Industries).

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:

  • To have an understanding of key concepts applicable to the creative industries and how to apply these key concepts to analyse critically various elements of the creative industries
  • To have an understanding of the role of the digital technologies and how to apply these within music, media and the arts
  • To have an understanding of the inter-relationships between the globalisations of new media and the localised


Two hours of teaching per week

Method of assessment

  • Book or Article Review (1,000 words) - 25%
  • Group projects, to be completed before end of course - 25%
  • Assignment (2,500 words) - 50%

Suggested reading

  • Abbate, Janet. 1999. Inventing the Internet. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.
  • Benjamin, W., 1968, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, Illuminiations
  • Benkler, Yochai. 2006. The wealth of networks: how social production transforms markets and freedom. New Haven [Conn.]: Yale University Press.
  • Coombes, Annie E., 1994. Reinventing Africa: museums, material culture and popular imagination in late Victorian and Edwardian England. Yale University Press
  • De Beukelaer, Christiaan. 2015. Developing Cultural Industries: Learning from the palimpsest of practice. Brussels: European Cultural Foundation
  • Flichy, Patrice. 2007. The internet imaginaire. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press
  • Hesmondhalgh, David. 2013. The Cultural Industries (3rd edition), London: Sage
  • Liu, Alan. 2004. The laws of cool knowledge work and the culture of information. Chicago: University of Chicago Press
  • McRobbie, Angela. 2016. Be creative: Making a living in the new cultural industries. Cambridge: Polity
  • Mosco, Vincent. 2004. The digital sublime: myth, power, and cyberspace. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.
  • Oakley, Kate and Justin O’Conner. 2015. The Routledge Companion to the Cultural Industries. London: Routledge
  • Phillips, Whitney. 2015. This is why we can't have nice things: mapping the relationship between online trolling and mainstream culture.
  • Pinney, C. and Peterson, N., 2003. Photography's other histories.
  • Streeter, Thomas. 2011. The net effect: romanticism, capitalism, and the internet. New York: New York University Press.
  • Tagg, J., 1993. The burden of representation: essays on photographies and histories.
  • Turner, Fred. 2006. From counterculture to cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the rise of digital utopianism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Wajcman, Judy. 2004. TechnoFeminism. Cambridge: Polity


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules