Assignment Titles

To what extent does social networking invite us to construct a commoditised “shop window” of the self?

Guidance

In addressing this title you are advised to consider the way in which the transformation of society in the 21st Century brought about by the proliferation of digital technologies raises questions about lifestyle and personal expression. Particular emphasis should be placed on the way in which contemporary identity is reflexively constructed in dialogue with popular culture. Attention should also be paid to the way in which interpersonal relations conform to patterns of consumer agency, in a discussion of issues of friendship, romantic attachment and family roles. From a theoretical perspective this essay should focus on a number of theorists including Baudrillard, Bourdieu, Jameson and Giddens.

In the Twenty First Century ownership of the means of cultural production is central to political agency?

Guidance

In addressing this question you would be advised to consider the way in which the accessibility of domestic creative technologies has redefined cultural agency. You should also consider the wider political implications of the proliferation of Western consumer culture, our relationship with the developing world and the way in which abstract global concepts like ‘terror’ rely upon mass media and the internet. From a theoretical perspective you should consider the work of Marx, Adorno, Baudrillard and Giddens.

Discuss the tension between the use of the term “Postmodernity” as a historical epoch and the playful sensibility of media texts that we define as “post-modern”.

Guidance

In addressing this assignment students would be advised to focus on issues of semiology, mass-culture, authorship, subculture, and taste. In particular emphasis should be placed on the distinction between the use of the term post-modern to define the blurring of the boundaries between the real and the simulated and Postmodernity as term to define the period which Western society became increasingly dominated by consumer capitalism. From a theoretical perspective the use of Saussure, Barthes, Baudrillard, Hebdige, Bourdieu and Jameson are all appropriate.

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