Emotion, Media and Culture - SO742

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Spring
View Timetable
6 15 (7.5) DR C Pedwell







This is an optional module for Cultural Studies programmes, but is open to and suitable for students on other programmes in the Social Sciences and Humanities. It may also be taken as a 'wild' option.

The module invites students to explore the critical links between emotion, media and culture in the context of contemporay cultural, socio-political and economic relations. It examines what is meant by ‘the affective turn’ within the humanities and social sciences and introduces students to a range of interdisciplinary literatures concerned with theorising the cultural politics of emotion and the mediation of affect. Through various case studies and examples, the module investigates how social, cultural and media theorists have addressed the relationships between emotion, affect, power and identity in the context of postcoloniality, multiculturalism, neoliberalism and various social justice movements.

Attending to contemporary cultural debates concerning happiness, empathy, hope, fear, hate, disgust and melancholia, it explores how personal feelings are linked to social norms and power structures and considers how we might disrupt an assumed division between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ emotions. The module explores how emotions, feelings and affects are produced, mediated and circulated through a range of cultural forms, practices and technologies, paying particular attention to the role of film, television, news media, digital culture, literature and popular science.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

1 Lecture hour per week, 1 seminar hour per week.

Method of assessment

90% coursework (1 essay of 2,500 words and 1 portfolio comprising a set of five responses of 500 words each), 10% class participation. The essay is worth 40% of the final work; the portfolio 50%, and seminar performance 10%, of the final mark.

Indicative reading

Ahmed, S. (2004) The Cultural Politics of Emotion (Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP).

Boler, M. (1999) Feeling Power: Emotions and Education (London: Routledge).

Chouliaraki, L. (2006) The Spectatorship of Suffering (London: Sage

Greco, M. and Stenner, P. (2008) Emotions: A Social Science Reader (London: Routledge).

Skeggs, B. and Wood, H. (2012) Reacting to Reality Television: Performance, Audience and Value (Abingdon: Routledge).

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module students will have developed a rigorous understanding of:

• The relationships between emotion, media and culture in the contemporary era

• Critical approaches to theorising emotion, affect and feeling in interdisciplinary Cultural Studies.

• How emotions are mediated through a range of cultural forms, processes and technologies.

• How, and with what potential implications, personal feelings are linked to social norms and structural relations of power.

• How universal and binary frameworks for interpreting emotions and affective practices might be critiqued.

• The affective nature of contemporary political and ideological processes and the role of media in such processes.

• The relationships between emotion, affect and contemporary social projects and movements.

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