This page provides links to blog posts on the main topics of the AQA’s media module. It’s gradually being populated and most of the media material should be completed by end of November 2019. If you like this sort of thing – you might like to check out my various revision resources for sale on Sellfy.

Although primarily written for the AQA sociology specification, a lot of this material will be relevant for students of A-level media studies (content only, rather than the exam question and answers, which are written specifically for sociology A-level paper 2!).  

The New Media and their significance for an understanding of the role of the media in contemporary society

Characteristics of New Media – A summary of the key features of New Media and how they differ from more traditional forms. New media are digital, interactive, hypertextual, globally networked, virtual and sometimes based on simulation. This post explains each of these key terms with examples.

Who is using New Media? – An overview of how new media usage varies by age, social class and gender, using statistics taken from OFCOM.

The neophiliac perspective on new media – neophiliacs emphasis the positive influences new media has had on society, such as increasing the number of global connections. Post and link to follow.

The cultural pessimist perspective on new media – As their name suggests, cultural pessimists emphasize the negative influences of new media on society. They see new media as dominated by large global conglomerations who use them to spread consumerism and reinforce elite power. This is a broadly Marxist perspective.

The relationship between ownership and control of the media

The Pluralist theory of the media – Pluralists see the media as controlled by audiences because media owners are mainly interested in making a profit – if they don’t provide what audiences want, they don’t stay in business. They see audiences as active and diverse.

The instrumentalist Marxist theory of the media – associated with classical or traditional Marxism this perspective sees media content as primarily controlled by the owners of media, who are part of the global elite and use their media companies to spread the dominant ideology

The neo-Marxist theory of the media – also known as the Hegemonic approach, this theory also believes the media spread the dominant ideology but believe middle class journalists do so rather than the owners, using processes such as agenda setting and gate keeping.

The media, globalisation and popular culture

The postmodern perspective on globalisation and popular culture – postmodernists argue that popular culture is very diverse, active, ‘playful’, and generally a positive thing.

The cultural imperialist perspective –

The selection and presentation of the content of the news

Intro post – News as a ‘window on the world’ vs The social construction of the News – an introductory post to this topic, summarising news values and other factors covered in more depth in the posts below.

Organisational and Bureaucratic Constraints -probably the easiest factors to understand, including how time, money, and ethics influence the content of the news.

The Marxist perspective on the news – a class based analysis of the social construction of the news.

Moral Panics – an outline of classic moral panic theory, including Stan Cohen’s classic study of the mods and rockers and evaluation points.

Media representations of age, social class, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and disability

Ethnicity –

Sexuality –

Media representations of women – an in depth post covering the core historical concepts of symbolic annihilation, the cult of femininity, and the beauty myth. This post also has several contemporary evaluations of how women are represented.

Class –

Old age –

Youth –

Disability –

The relationship between the media, their content and presentation, and audiences

The hypodermic syringe theory – from the 1940s this theory believes the media can have a direct and immediate effect on audiences.

The two step flow model – argues that ‘opinion leaders’ influence how audiences interpret the media, thus there are ‘two steps’ to the audience being effected

Selective filter –

Reception analysis –

Cultural effects –

Postmodernist –

A Level Sociology of Media Bundle

If you like this sort of thing, then you might like my A Level Sociology of the Media Revision Bundle which contains the following:

  1. 57 pages of revision notes covering all of the sub-topics within the sociology of the media
  2. 19 mind maps in pdf and png format – covering most sub-topics within the sociology of the media.
  3. Short answer exam practice questions and exemplar answers – three examples of the 10 mark, ‘outline and explain’ questions and three of the 10 mark ‘analyse’ with item questions, all take from the specimen paper and the 2017/2018 exam papers.
  4. Three essays and essay plans, taken from the specimen paper and 2017 and 2018 exam papers.