Current Issues in Media and Communication
This unit presents key concepts and approaches in the field of media and communication, with particular emphasis on communication in political contexts. The unit presents key theoretical and disciplinary frameworks to equip the students with conceptual tools to understand and analyse the effects of the Internet and social media on international political arenas. Key topics discussed may include: platform society and platform politics; environmental communication; global protest and activism in the social media age; digital wars; digital rights; algorithmic governance; fake news.
Putting Communication into Practice
The unit further develops research competences in the field of political communication in a professional, rather than a purely academic, context. Putting theory into practice, students apply what they have learned to 'real world' briefs, developed with the guidance of experts such as MPs, public servants, NGO workers and activists.
History of International Relations
This unit examines the history of global politics since the 17th century up to the present day. It examines the links between the emergence and evolution of the ‘Westphalian’ system into today’s ‘globalised’ world politics, and the ways in which narratives and histories of the global south have been marginalised by this process.
Issues in Contemporary Global Politics
This unit is an examination of the key debates and problems in today’s global politics, allowing students to debate and tackle these dilemmas. Focussed on current geopolitics topics may include; Humanitarian Intervention; Humanitarian Law and the ICC; poverty, development and international economics; the politics of climate change; global institutional governance; the politics of migration; the rise of nationalist protest; the failures of US foreign policy.
This unit gives students the opportunity to engage closely and intensely with selected case studies of current research in the field of politics and communication, as well as to work side by side with an experienced researcher. Guided by research experts from the programme team, students learn about key theoretical approaches and possible methods for each selected case study; evaluate the state of the field; and gain some experience in carrying out a small research project of their own.
The dissertation involves extended independent research into a topic chosen by the student, with guidance and advice from the unit co-ordinator and from a dissertation supervisor chosen from appropriate members of staff. The subject matter can cover any issue within the field of contemporary global politics and communications. In preparation for the dissertation there is a taught element focusing on research methods training. Students are introduced to a range of social science methods, and learn about key stages of doing a research project, such as framing a research problem, formulating a research question, setting aims and objectives, doing a literature review, choosing methods of data collection and data analysis, time management and research ethics.
Likely Optional Units
Language, Culture and Communication
This unit introduces concepts and issues in intercultural communication. The unit makes use of both established and in-house research, using approaches and analytical frameworks from pragmatics, discourse analysis and the ethnography of communication. You will reflect on how context may influence negotiation of meaning in a variety of cultural contexts. The unit equips you with a comprehensive set of tools for the analysis of intercultural communication from a language perspective and develops the resources needed to identify features of effective communication with people from diverse contexts. The unit prepares you for carrying out empirical research in the field of intercultural communication, critically evaluating empirical data and presenting research findings
Critical Discourse Analysis
The unit focuses on the relationship between language, power and ideology. It equips you to use a wide range of analytic techniques, and shows how these can be applied to political, institutional and other persuasive discourses addressing established areas of social conflict such as race, gender and politics. The unit adopts a problem-oriented perspective and encourages students to apply Critical Discourse Analysis approaches and techniques to current data from the immediate social context. It draws on texts from newspapers, television, advertising and other media with the aim of developing a critical perspective on the use of language in society.
The Policymaking Process and Comparative Public Policy
This unit offers an introduction to the field of comparative public policy. The course material will consider the aims and methods of comparative inquiry. It will survey a range of theoretical approaches used to make sense of policy processes and outcomes and it will consider the important issues confronting policymakers, with an eye to making sense of variation and convergence in states policies in these areas. Throughout the course, students will be encouraged to consider how theories of policy-making fare in explaining real world outcomes and the degree to which comparison yields insights beyond what might be expected from single country studies. Students will be encouraged to consider how they could apply lessons from the case studies to future careers as policymakers.
Contemporary US Foreign Policy
This unit examines two dimensions of contemporary US foreign policy. In the first half of the course we look at the process of policy-making and the roles of different actors and institutions, including the president, Congress, interest groups and the media. In the second half of the course we examine the output of that process in the shape of US foreign policy towards different parts of the world in the early 21st century.
The EU in Turmoil
The unit examines both internal and external contexts of European integration. The content is divided into smaller thematic blocks designed to cover the following key topics: the structure of European integration (including institutional architecture, major treaties and decision-making structure), the policy portfolio of the European Union (internal and external policies). Among other things the unit evaluates how effectively the EU responds to such issues as global terrorism, climate change, financial crisis and immigration.
Disasters and Emergency Planning
The unit will explore in detail the Cycle of Emergency and Disaster Planning and management. This will include how governments, agencies, businesses and individuals can prepare for this type of situation, how they can mitigate the effects of emergencies and disasters and how they can recover from them. You will be able to identify and describe what is meant by disasters, hazards, emergencies, vulnerability and risk. You will also be able to identify and describe the types of natural and non-natural disasters and emergencies and the implications for those on the areas in which they work. You will also be able to identify the different groups that may be vulnerable in this type of situation and develop plans to assist each of those groups and reduce the effects of the emergency situation on them.
The unit uses a range of thematic frameworks and draws on a broad spectrum of case studies of social and mobile media use in areas such as literacy, citizenship, community, culture, health and wellbeing, and everyday life. Topics include: digital identity from self to selfie; social media in health care, citizenship, family and community; digital engagement and disengagement; digital archives and memory; new cultures of readership; and cultural studies of digital technologies.