Media, Culture and Society

Lectures, University of Helsinki, autumn 2019

Check out the Twitter hashtag #medsocul – Feel free to interact.

Moodle page here.

The plan

  • Lectures 4 September – 16 October + readings
  • One-page idea papers. Deadline 4 October. Upload to Moodle. Language: English.
  • Mini-seminar on idea papers 9 October; everyone reads all the papers.
  • Mini-article of 1500–2000 words. Deadline 15 November. Upload to Moodle. Language: English, Finnish or Swedish.

Instructions and ideas for mini-articles

Pick a practice, phenomenon, debate, etc., and a theoretical perspective or approach. Then apply and revisit the theory at the end. Not serious research, but in a relatively similar format.

  1. Introduction: aim, case, background theory
  2. Theoretical approach (and methods if applicable)
  3. The case: description, discussion in light of the theoretical approach
  4. Conclusions: what was learned, does the theoretical approach illuminate the case or is it limited?

Questions considered in a good (and a very good) mini-article:

  • What is your topic (and why is it of interest)?
  • How are you going to approach it (and why as opposed to other possible theoretical approaches)?
  • What is the phenomenon/practice at hand, in light of the approach you have chosen? 
  • How did the approach illuminate the phenomenon/practice (and were any not less than obvious limitations of the theoretical approach revealed)?


  1. Key concepts.
  2. Approaches of media research.
  3. The demise of the audience: redistribution of media agency.
  4. The data is the message: the economic revolution of the media.
  5. From representation to participation
  6. Collective individualism: online identities and representation.
  7. The hashtag sphere: social media and the rediscovery of the public.

Lecture I

Part I Key concepts

Part II Approaches of Media Research

Part III The Demise of the Audience

Lecture II

Reading: Couldry, Nick (2012). Media, Society, World: Social Theory and Digital Media Practice. Polity. Chapter 6, “Media and the Transformation of Capital and Authority”, pp. 133-155

Part IV Data is the Message

Lecture III

Homework: think of a case or a recent example of media representation. What comes to your mind? What is represented, by whom, in what way (and why)?

Part V From Representation to Participation

Lecture IV

Part VI Collective Individualism and Online Identities

Reading for next time: Jürgen Habermas (2006) ”Political Communication in Media Society: Does Democracy Still Enjoy an Epistemic Dimension? The Impact of Normative Theory on Empirical Research”. Communication Theory 16(4): 411-26.

Lecture V

Part VII Towards the Hashtag Sphere