What's this course about?
This course looks at the social role and importance of modern media of communication and culture, from the book to the internet. It’s a sociology course, not a “how-to” media course (though it teaches things that should be useful to people who want to work in or with the media). It takes a serious look at the sociological literature and theoretical issues involved in understanding how the media functions in society. It explores questions like the following: What role have media like newspapers, television, and the internet played in making the modern world the way it is? What happens when so much of our communication happens on a "mass" basis, between people who don't see or even know each other? How can we study the signs, symbols, and cultural meanings that make up media messages? How are the media organized, and how does organizational form shape content? What difference does it make, for example, if media are funded with, say, advertising or tax money?
(If you are looking for an easy or entertaining course, please read this.)