Identity and Popular Culture

Module code: MS2006
Module co-ordinator: Dr Katie Moylan

Module outline

This module explores what is meant by ‘identity’ (our own and the concept in general) by considering the various social factors which make up individual identity and the ways these are represented in popular media. These factors include normative notions of gender, race and ethnicity, sexual preference and affiliation, social class, and nation/region.

We will also explore how such reductive categories can be expanded on and transcended. These circulating representations are analysed through the study of selected popular television and film texts each week.

Topics covered

  • The ‘identity project’
  • Definitions of popular media
  • How stereotypes work in popular media
  • Approaches to feminist analysis
  • Approaches to queer theory
  • Representations of social class
  • Representations of ‘nation’
  • Complicating representations of identity: resistant narratives
  • Complicating representations of identity: social protest


Each week’s class will comprise a lecture, seminar discussion and a screening of illustrative clips from film and television on that week’s topic, totalling:

  • 22 hours of lectures
  • 11 hours of seminars
  • 117 hours of guided independent study


  • Essay, 2,000 words (60%)
  • Reflective assignment, 400 words (25%)
  • Paired presentation (15%)