Module code: SOC3044

Module provider


Module Leader

HODKINSON P Dr (Sociology)

Number of Credits


ECTS Credits



FHEQ Level 6

JACs code


Module cap (Maximum number of students)


Module Availability

Semester 1

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 128

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 11

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Practical based assessment ONLINE PARTICIPATION 20
Examination 1 HOUR EXAMINATION 40

Alternative Assessment


Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module overview

This module focuses upon the significance of popular music in contemporary societies. We examine the global popular music industry, its connection to other media/culture industries and arguments about the standardisation of music itself. We go on to consider different perspectives on the experiences and identities of music consumers and on the ways in which popular music relates to divisions such as class, gender and ethnicity

Module aims

To provide an overview of role and significance of popular music in contemporary societies

To elucidate and differentiate between approaches related to music in relation to texts, technologies, industry and audiences

To identify and relate to one another a range of theoretical and empirical studies relating to specialist topics relating to popular music studies

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Demonstrate a familiarity with key terms and concepts used in the study of popular music
2 Appreciate the different ways in which popular music can be studied, notably as an industry, as cultural text, as technology and in terms of its consumption
3 Apply to the case of music, broader theories about the relationship between media, culture and society
4 Discuss popular music theories and research in relation to contemporary examples in class and online
5 Carry out a close critical reading of a piece of literature on popular music and society
6 Draw on the range of material covered on the module in order to construct arguments and explanations under exam conditions

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Module content

Indicative content includes:

The distinction between public service and neo-liberal approaches to media

Marxist and other theoretical critiques of the role of media in contemporary societies

Contrasting approaches to censorship of ‘harmful’ or ‘offensive’ forms of content

The historical development and contemporary fragmentation of the national media audience

The relationship between media and social divisions/inequalities

The implications of recent developments – including digitalisation and deregulation – for questions of media, power and control

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

Lectures components provide a core background, enthusing students about the significance and importance of the topics and arguments, and enabling the understanding of core concepts and examples. Seminar discussions enable students to develop greater depth of understanding through practical exercises and discussions centred on reading and connecting to key concepts from the lecture. Sometimes lecture and seminar are discrete whereas in other weeks a more integrated approach is taken. SurreyLearn discussions take place throughout the module and enable interaction and feedback on a range of ideas and understandings.

The learning and teaching methods include:

The teaching strategy consists of 22 combined lecture/seminar sessions, plus a revision session. Students complete compulsory readings each week as preparation for the seminar discussions.


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate

Assessment one assesses students’ ability to convey and discuss ideas in an online forum throughout the semester. Discussion topics tie in with lectures and readings at the time each one takes place. Discussions particularly assess lo 4 but incorporate the first three learning outcomes too.

Assessment two focuses directly on lo 5 and encourages close critical reading and written discussion, but also assesses understanding of concepts and application of theories (1 and 3).  

Assessment three focused directly on lo 6 but also assesses all of los 1-3, on familiarity with terms and concepts, the ways popular music can be studied and application of theory.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

Online participation (20%), requiring students to contribute to each of five discussion topics throughout the semester, drawing upon reading and examples and interacting with the comments of others.
1500 word explication essay (40%) requiring students to select an article from a list provided and write a critical explication of the arguments therein.
1 hour exam (40%), requiring students to answer one question from a list that covers the key issues and topics discussed on the module.

Formative assessment and feedback

Students gain formative feedback throughout the semester via the interaction of their ideas with peers and the lecturer, both in class and via the online discussions. All students are encouraged to ask questions and test ideas in relation to the assignments during the weeks preceding their submission. Students will be offered the opportunity to mark and provide their own feedback on anonynmised previous exam scripts as part of preparation for the examination.

Reading list

Reading list for POPULAR MUSIC AND SOCIETY : http://aspire.surrey.ac.uk/modules/soc3044

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Media, Culture and Society BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Sociology BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Media Studies with Film Studies BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Media Studies with Theatre and Performance BA (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Sociology with Psychology BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2017/8 academic year.