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Unit information: Cultural Representation in 2023/24

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing, student choice and timetabling constraints.

Unit name Cultural Representation
Unit code SOCI30063
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Jo Haynes
Open unit status Not open
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School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Unit Information

The unit examines the issue of cultural identity and relations of power between individuals/groups and representational and discursive practices. Key theoretical and methodological frameworks for studying culture, identity and representations will be introduced. It examines how identities and subjectivities are created through systems of representation involving complex articulations of class, race, gender, sexuality, nation and culture. It also considers representations of the ‘Other’ and what it means to challenge or resist dominant representations. It will introduce students to a body of work from sociology and cultural studies in order to contemplate the significance of cultural differences in the construction and commodification of contemporary identities and within wider debates about the historically situated ordering of reality. Examples will be considered from a range of media and cultural sources such as music, advertising, film, TV, the internet and sport.

The unit aims are:

  • to analyze the impact of modern forms of representation on individual, social and group identity
  • to explore different ways of conceptualising difference
  • to familiarise students with a body of sociological theories which seek to explain the complex relationship between subjects, representation and social power
  • to encourage a critical approach to studying media and cultural forms

Your learning on this unit

On successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  1. discuss the wider implications of the social and political significance of representations
  2. critically evaluate different conceptual approaches to difference
  3. recognise and interpret relations of power in mediated forms of representation
  4. analyse a range of representations across media and cultural forms

How you will learn

The unit will be taught through blended learning methods, including a mix of synchronous and asynchronous teaching activities

How you will be assessed

Formative: 1500 word essay

Summative: 3000 word essay

Both essays will address learning outcomes 1, 2, 3 and 4 by offering students a range of questions that ask them to draw on substantive and theoretical material covered across the unit. The essays will also offer an opportunity to apply their understanding to a range of contemporary issues appropriate to the essay questions.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. SOCI30063).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.