Global Affairs: Communication, Culture and Power

Module code: MS3004

Module co-ordinator: Dr Maria Touri

Module Outline

Often described as ‘time-space compression’, ‘accelerated interdependence’ or even ‘sameness’, globalisation remains a problematic notion. While it implies a process of democratisation, which is enabled by the free flow of goods and ideas, it also raises questions of further global inequality, poverty and crisis. Understanding the development and dynamics of global affairs is impossible without an examination of the media and communications systems. But, how global are these media systems really? And how is their influence understood in the interactions and interdependencies of the global world?

During this module, we will unfold the process of globalisation by examining both its economic, political and cultural underpinnings, and the embedded role of media and communications systems. We will identify the important actors in the international communications landscape and evaluate their economic, political and cultural power in the international system.

We will address issues of democracy, inequality, culture and consumption in the global world and we will question the role of new media technologies in making the world a more transparent place. In addition, we will examine international interdependencies through the prism of European politics and the current financial crisis.

This is a theory-based module which will give you the opportunity to develop your critical thinking skills as well as an ability to understand complex theories and assess their application on empirical examples.

Topics covered

  • International communications and the developing world.
  • The politics of global culture and consumption.
  • Media, diplomacy and ‘soft power’.
  • Nation-states and nationalism.
  • European politics: communicating Europe to Europeans.
  • Media-state relationships and global politics.
  • International relations, information and games.


  • 10 two-hour lecture/seminars


  • Essay, 3,000 words (50%)
  • Written project, 2,500 words (50%) - you will develop a policy or industry proposal/plan - where media and communications systems play a central role - or conduct a media analysis.