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IP102 Science, Society and the Media

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Module Leaders
Dr Bryan Brazeau, Dr Tim Burnett
Core
Term 1 & 2
22 weeks
30 CATS
44 contact hours:

1 x 2 hour workshop per week

2 field trips

 

 

Moodle Platform ยป

Principal Aims

The module engages students with contemporary questions around the public understanding of science and the role that the media plays in communicating science. The module tackles the prevalent assumption that "despite the huge strides made in technology, we still live in a scientifically illiterate society" (Gregory 2000) and examines the ways in which public decisions are shaped by the media’s representation and manipulation of science. The module’s practical components introduce students to a set of topical issues making headlines in the national and local media and invites critical and creative responses to them through close analysis of case studies.

Principal Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module, students will have:

  • Acquired an in-depth understanding of the media’s role in shaping the public’s understanding of science
  • Examined the practical consequences of the media’s representation of specific scientific "issues"
  • Acquired an understanding of the ways in which Institutional interests influence science
  • Acquired an understanding of the ways in which institutional interests shape media reports
  • Studied, in depth, 2 theoretical stances explicating the relationship between science and institutional interests
  • Examined a range of controversial questions drawn from the national papers
  • Become familiar with the "language of news" and demonstrated their ability to deploy appropriate methods of critical analysis of news texts
  • Developed their ability to take a critical approach to news output and to use various methods of textual analysis
  • Developed their research and writing skills and compiled an e-portfolio of their work.

Syllabus

Term 1
  1. Introduction: Science and the Public
  2. Science in Academic Culture: critical reflections on science
  3. Science in Public Culture: the social construction of science
  4. Popularization, Public Understanding and the Public Sphere
  5. Media issues in the Public Understanding of Science: Making news out of Science
  6. Media issues in the Public Understanding of Science: Language of the Media
  7. The effects of Media Science on Society
  8. Case studies in Science, Society and the Media
  9. Case Studies in Science, Society and the Media
  10. Reflection, Assessment, Critique
Term 2
  1. Introduction: Science and Institutional Interests
  2. Science, Capitalism and the Media: Critical Theory and Critical Realism
  3. Science, Capitalism and the Media: Critical Theory and Critical Realism
  4. Science, Patriarchy and the Media: Women as Subjects/ Objects of Science
  5. Science, Patriarchy and the Media: Women as Subjects / Objects of Science
  6. Case Studies I: Genetic Modification and Commodification of the Non-Human
  7. Case Studies II: Privacy vs Security
  8. Case Studies III: Mental Health
  9. Case Studies IV: Smoking
  10. Reflection, Assessment, Critique

Reading List

The full 2016/17 reading list for Science, Society and the Media can be found here.

Assessment