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2024/25 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

COMM5550M Popular Music and Society

30 creditsClass Size: 48

Module manager: Anamik Saha

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module provides an in-depth examination of the relationship between popular music, culture, and society. It situates the study of popular music within the fields of media, communication, and cultural studies, and explores key historical, political, economic, technological, and cultural factors and developments that have shaped popular music. Students will evaluate and apply module themes and concepts in relation to popular music examples, and reflect on the implications of contemporary cultural and commercial developments for the role of popular music in everyday life.


Through a series of linked lectures, seminars and case studies, this module aims to provide students with:
-An overview of key theoretical approaches and scholarly debates concerning popular music and its role in culture and society;
-An understanding of historical, political, economic, technological, and cultural factors that have shaped the production, circulation, and reception of popular music
-The opportunity to develop independent research skills.

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of the module students will have demonstrated the following learning outcomes relevant to the subject:
1. Interpret the interconnections between popular music and its cultural and societal contexts.
2. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of arguments and perspectives within popular music scholarship, demonstrating critical thinking skills.
3. Synthesize information from various sources to construct well-reasoned analyses of the complexities inherent in popular music phenomena.

Skills Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of the module students will have demonstrated the following skills learning outcomes:
1. Employ critical thinking skills to evaluate and analyze key concepts and scholarly debates in the field of popular music studies.
2. Effectively communicate complex ideas and analyses related to popular music, both in written and oral formats.
3. Utilize appropriate research methodologies to investigate specific aspects of popular music and present findings in a coherent and well-supported manner.


Details of the syllabus will be provided on the Minerva organisation (or equivalent) for the module

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours276.00
Total Contact hours24.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress will be monitored in weekly seminars. Furthermore, the multiple choice questionnaire will enable students to identify strengths and areas for improvement in understanding well in advance of the essay deadline.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3,500 - 4,000 words75.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)75.00

Resit available through original assessment method.

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online MCQ1 hr 30 mins25.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)25.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/05/2024 09:20:42


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