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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: Psychology and Sociology
Course Prefix and Number: SOCI 380
Course Title: Sociology of Culture and Mass Media
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description: Sociological theories of mass media, social impacts of mass media and popular culture on collective consciousness; structure versus agency; new media; the internet. Prerequisite: Junior standing.
Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s): Junior standing.
Course Rotation for Day Program: Offered even Fall.
Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

Ways of Seeing
By John Berger (Penguin)
By David Croteau and William Hoynes (Pine Forge Press)
The Business of Media
By David Croteau and William Hoynes (Pine Forge Press)
Course Objectives
  • To understand the main arguments of sociological theories of popular culture and mass media, including the Frankfurt School, Gramsci, Agenda Setting Theory, and Pluralistic Theory.
  • To investigate the role that mass media and popular culture play in shaping the public's awareness of social and political issues.
  • To investigate the history and current development of corporate ownership of mass media outlets.
  • To evaluate critically the role of political propaganda in democratic societies.
  • To assess the impact of new media, including the internet, on consumption of mass media.
  • To assess critically the extent of sexism, racism, heterosexism, and stereotyping in the mass media.
    Measurable Learning
  • Describe the major theoretical traditions in the sociology of culture and mass media.
  • Identify prominent trends in mass media ownership.
  • Identify and describe recent trends in the development of web-based media.
  • Explain the development of American TV culture and its diffusion around the globe.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with patterns of sterotyping and discrimination in mass media.
    Topical Outline:
  • History of mass media
  • Sociological theories of culture and mass media
  • Mass media ownership
  • Reading images
  • Women and minorities in mass media
  • Political influences on the mass media

    Recommended maximum class size for this course: 25

    Library Resources:

    Online databases are available at You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

    Prepared by: Yngve Digernes Date: January 21, 2009
    NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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