Media Studies: The Essential Resource

Media Studies: The Essential Resource

Media Studies: The Essential Resource

Media Studies: The Essential Resource


A unique collection of resources for all those studying the media at university and pre-university level, this book brings together a wide array of material including advertisements, political cartoons and academic articles, with supporting commentary and explanation to clarify their importance to Media Studies. In addition, activities and further reading and research are suggested to help kick start students' autonomy.The book is organized around three main sections: Reading the Media, Audiences and Institutions and is edited by the same teachers and examiners who brought us the hugely successful AS Media Studies: The Essential Introduction. This is an ideal companion or standalone sourcebook to help students engage critically with media texts - its key features include:*further reading suggestions*a comprehensive bibliography*a list of web resources.


Media Studies is a relatively young academic discipline when it is compared to English, Modern Languages, Classics or History. Despite, or perhaps because of, its rapid development throughout the education system, both in schools and in higher education, it still finds the need to justify itself in a way in which more established disciplines do not.

In addition to the relatively late arrival of Media Studies on the academic scene, we also need to bear in mind that media are readily accessible to and consumed by all of us, unlike for example classic novels and Renaissance drama. This very familiarity, and some would say mundanity, of the subject matter that constitutes a study of the media may well militate against its being taken seriously. Famously dismissed by one Secretary for Education as a 'cultural Disneyland', Media Studies feels obliged to spend some time justifying itself as a viable part of the academic establishment.

Another important issue confronting a student of the media is that the discipline itself is in a state of flux. Although a relative newcomer on the academic scene, many of the ideas and theories that have been used to underpin Media Studies during its rapid growth are themselves being questioned. The following extracts provide an interesting contrast which may help illustrate some of the issues that are under debate.

In the first extract, Simon Frith, Professor of Film and Media at the University of Stirling, writes about the significance of popular culture and identifies for us some of the ways in which he feels studying it can be a valuable and worthwhile experience. One of the things you may find interesting about the extract is the accessible way in which it is written. Other than the word 'dialectic', there is little terminology that is not readily understood by a well-informed lay reader. Indeed, the style is in many ways quite conversational and journalistic in contrast to the rather more serious approach common in academic essays.

At the centre of Frith's argument is the key issue of how values are transmitted through popular culture. Media Studies, and related disciplines such as Film and Cultural Studies, provide us with an important insight into the value system of our society. Frith was one of the first academics to underscore the importance of studying mass cultural forms such as popular music as a way of gaining this insight.

Before you read the extract, write down a short paragraph explaining why you think a study of the media is important.


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