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SOCL923: Critical Methods in Cultural Research

Course convenor: Debra Ferreday

This is a core course for MA Media and Cultural Studies.

Critical Methods in Cultural Research offers students an introduction to Cultural Studies methodologies. This course aims to help students develop an appropriate dissertation topic and research design. The course traces selected methodological strategies including theoretical analyses; discourse analysis; institutions and culture industries; cultural practices and everyday life; ‘close readings’ and textual analysis.

The course is structured as a series of workshops which gives students the opportunity to develop their own theoretically grounded and critically reflexive approach to independent research. The module will engage with questions of ethics, situated knowledge, and lived experience in order that students are able to reflect upon their own research praxis.

The course will explore the question of what it means to be critical, for example using the figure of the ‘acafan’ to reflect on the intimate relationship between ‘researcher’ and ‘subject’ and to examine how this relationship might problematise, as well as reproduce, culturally mediated relations of power and marginality. We will discuss the practical and epistemological considerations that underpin research methods, thus providing vivid practical examples of effective critical approaches and research projects.

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