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Cursus: SOW-CWB2023
Media content
Cursus informatieRooster
Studiepunten (ECTS)4
CategorieB2 (Tweede jaar bachelor)
Aangeboden doorRadboud Universiteit; Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen; Communicatiewetenschap;
dr. S. Daalmans
Overige cursussen docent
dr. S. Daalmans
Overige cursussen docent
Contactpersoon van de cursus
dr. S. Daalmans
Overige cursussen docent
dr. S. Daalmans
Overige cursussen docent
M. Ebbinkhuijsen, MSc
Overige cursussen docent
PER2  (06-11-2023 t/m 26-01-2024)
Inschrijven via OSIRISJa
Inschrijven voor bijvakkersJa
Upon the successful completion of this course you are:
  • able to distinguish communication science theories as well as views of creators and users with regard to media content.
  • able to distinguish different perspectives on media content on the basis of theories used in communication science and the associated concepts and research hypotheses.
  • able to describe the relationship between 'reality' and its symbolic 'representation' in media messages and analyze it in semiotic terms: representamen, object  and interpretant.
  • able to analyze and apply important syntactic characteristics of messages (form and structure of representations) in various media such as, for example, an narrative print ad, a rhetorical plea structure or press report.  
  • able to identify and apply different signs and sign systems that shape media reality, in the analysis of media content.
If we want to improve our knowledge, we consult media. Whether we refer to social media, documentaries, newspaper, all of these media carry meanings about the world. Even if we turn to media for entertainment (Netflix series, dumpert, fairy tales) they will provide us with images of the world around us. Media content is built on representations. As is science. Science, more specific scientific papers, offer access to (specific part of) reality by creating representations of reality based on scientific methods and rules.
The scope of this course is the (inter)relation of reality and the symbolic representation of it. How do we know the world? What is the role of representations in constructing meaning? What are the most important systems of representations that shape media content (images, language, narrative, rhetoric) and what are defining characteristics of this types of representations? In communication science content analysis is a distinctive method. However, different theories create different perspectives on ‘content’ and therefore will read content differently. 

The course’s basic assumptions are twofold:
THE content does not exist. Every Mass Communication Theory has a specific scope or angle to look at ‘content’ and accordingly different methods and routines to analyze (specific aspects of) ‘content’
  • There is no such thing as a pure experience of an objective reality. Reality exists but its intelligibility depends on systems of signs, like language. To quote James Carey: “reality is brought into existence, is produced, by communication – by, in short, the construction, apprehension, and utilization of symbolic forms”
    (Carey 1989, p. 25)
Based on those two assumptions the focus in this course is on:
  • Theories of representation: the connection between reality and it’s symbolic representation in “texts” such as language, visuals, films, documentaries, narratives and rhetoric.
  • The grammar of different forms of symbolic representations 
  • Mass communication theories and the conceptualization of content within those theories
  • Views on media content of (professional) content creators and their outlook on the representation of reality.
Bachelor students Communication Science must have obtained 42 EC from B1. This course has limited accessibility for students from other study programmes and international students. 
We refer students from other study programmes to the admission requirements for B2 and B3 elective courses in this study guide under the heading Students from other study programmes.

Assignments:   All assignments are obligatory. Although the assignments will be in English, you are allowed to hand them in in Dutch if you want to.
Every assignment must be handed in on Brightspace. All assignments are made in pairs, both students have to submit it to Brightspace(with the clear indication who the partners are). All assignments will be graded.
Most of the assignments consist of implementing specific theoretical knowledge in creating specific content. In order to focus on digesting the required reading material and lectures, and not so much on making up a story or situation, our starting point for creation will be well known fairy tales. The basic situation or story is given, so the emphasis can be on applying the theoretical insights. Some of the assignments will be accompanied by a self-assessment form. 
Apart from these creative assignments there will be a number of analytical reading guide assignments.
For each assignment, a resit assignment will be available to compensate a failing grade.

Written exam:  30 multiple choice questions, 4 possible answers. Correction for guessing. All lectures, assignments and reading material are part of the exam 

 Final grade: To calculate the final grade both the result of the exam as well as the average of the summative assessments have to be at least 5,5 or higher. The exam makes up 50% of the final grade, the assignments 50%. 

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