Course description

Most updated Regulations and syllabus: http://www.socsc.hku.hk/reg_syl_tpg.html

Timetable: https://sociology.hku.hk/courses/


Core Courses


SOCI7005. Theories of media, culture and creative cities (6 credits)

This compulsory course introduces the key thinkers, traditions, and current debates in the sociology and cultural studies of media and culture in the world city context. It explores the centrality of the role of media, culture, and creativity in contemporary social life and its intricate relationships with the city at an advanced level. You will comprehend media and culture as an industry or institution with specific modes of production and ownership, consumption patterns and practices, and rules of control and regulation. You will examine media and cultural representations, as well as socially constructed identities. You will explore media and culture as a “way of life” comprised of social reflective practices that entail creativity and pleasure, as well as politics and resistance. In other words, this course will look into the key issues of political economy, representation, politics, and practices of media and culture, addressing the power dynamics and complexities of the city, and examining the importance of creativity in the context of globalization. This course serves as a roadmap to other courses in this programme.

Assessment: 60% coursework / 40% examination

SOCI7006. Research methods in media, culture and creative cities (6 credits)

This course offers you the chance to look at different ways of researching media, culture, and creative cities through a range of disciplines, most notably sociology, anthropology, and media and cultural studies. It examines the whole research process, starting from research methodology, to research design, sampling and methods used, to data collection, data analysis and report writing. In particular, various methods will be introduced such as survey, content analysis, ethnography, in-depth interview, life history, reception studies, textual analysis, and deconstruction. Key debates in research methodology such as representation, legitimation, and reflexivity will be discussed. Students will learn the methods for analyzing the media, cultural industries and their products, studying audiences and consumers, charting broader cultural trends, and examining the cultural environment of creative cities. The course helps students put theory “to work” and trains students to become independent researchers who are well-informed at both the theoretical and methodological level.

Assessment: 100% coursework

SOCI7007. Globalization and the cultural mosaic: an Asian perspective (6 credits)

Globalization refers to the increasing flow of people, goods, commodities, economic activity, technologies, media, values, and belief systems on a global scale. People are becoming more aware of the global connectivity of economic, cultural, political, and social activities in different parts of the world. Recent studies focus on the dynamics of this global flow in shaping the emerging world order. This course aims to provide students with a broader and deeper understanding of the issues related to globalization from an Asian perspective. It takes a serious look at this emerging global map by examining the social, cultural, and creative interface of global, domestic, and trans-border cultures in Asia. The discussions are arranged under three major themes, which included (1) city and state; (2) new communities and cultural exchanges; and (3) globalization vs. regionalization. Specific Asian cities such as Hong Kong, Beijing, Taipei, Seoul, Tokyo, and Singapore will be investigated.

Assessment: 100% coursework

 

SOCI7008. Critical issues of media, culture and creative cities (6 credits)

This course examines critical issues of media, culture, and creative cities, with a particular focus on Hong Kong city. The purpose is to shed light on relevant issues of modern life by drawing on some of the key concepts and findings in the related fields. While the issues to be discussed will vary from year to year, they will all touch upon important facets of media operation, cultural dynamics, city regeneration, and creative development. In particular, the course will look at media regulation and freedom of speech, heritage and urban planning, time and collective memory, post-colonial identity and nationalist imaginations, youth cultures and lifestyles, global consumption and local community, new forms of intimacy, the beauty myth and diet culture, creative industries, city branding, the West Kowloon Cultural District, and Disneyland. Selected topics will be taught by different instructors with relevant special expertise. Students will form small groups to work on the presentation of a chosen topic. Emphasis will be put on using contemporary media, cultural, and urban theories to interpret and understand social and cultural phenomena in Hong Kong, and extend discussions to other Asian cities such as Beijing, Taipei, Seoul, Tokyo, and Singapore.

Assessment: 100% coursework

 

Elective Courses

SOCI8011.        Media and crime (6 credits)

The media plays an extremely influential role in the public’s conceptions of crime and order. This course aims to provide students with a better understanding of theories about the media’s impact on crime, the news making process in relation to crime, and how the media shapes our ideas and responses to crime.  The course also focuses on the relationship between crime and cultural dynamics with a focus on representations of crime in popular culture, particularly in films and novels.

Assessment: 100% coursework

SOCI8023. Media and popular culture in Asian cities (6 credits)

This course addresses the social, political, cultural, and creative dynamics of the modern communication media – TV, film, music, radio, the press, and other new media technologies – and their impacts on popular culture in Hong Kong and other Asian cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Taipei, Seoul, Tokyo, and Singapore. It enables you to critically examine how media and popular culture construct our identities, shape everyday life, and generate public debates. Topics include the media; sex and violence; consumption and youth cultures, romance and gender identity; regimes of body management; desire and social identities; lifestyle distinctions and social hierarchy; on-line communication and cyber personas; media events and imagined communities; new media and technologies; and the commercialization of arts.

Assessment: 100% coursework

SOCI8024.       Digital media, moralities and cultures (6 credits)

The growth of digital media is fundamentally reshaping our culture. But how can we start to analyse and understand these changes sociologically? This course will attempt to address these issues through an examination of the moral and ethical issues underpinning a wide array of digital communications technologies. Morality provides a powerful tool for understanding technology, as it is able to encompass both the mundane (e.g., whether a ‘selfie’ is judged to be tasteful or crude) and the exceptional (i.e., the laws and regulations governing specific aspects of internet use). We examine how morality, social norms and behaviours are shaping technology use and how technology is, in turn, redefining the moral frameworks that exist in society. A broad range of existing theoretical standpoints for understanding the ethics of digital media will be introduced. These perspectives will be critiqued and challenged through reference to existing case studies and on-going innovative research projects from different academics and practitioners. This course adopts a truly global outlook, examining case studies from around the world to consider the moral dimensions of technology comparatively.

Assessment: 100% coursework

SOCI8025. Consumer cultures and everyday life (6 credits)

Consumption is an important part of modern life. This course examines the role of consumer culture in the modern commodity economy. It offers you a chance to revisit classical theorists in the context of consumption (e.g., Marx, Weber, Campbell, Veblen, Simmel), as well as some more contemporary thinkers (e.g., Marcuse, Bourdieu, Baudrillard). It will look at the changing roles of street culture, department stores and shopping malls, theme parks, and urban and suburban ways of life in the context of recent discussions regarding the interactive media and global consumption politics. In particular, the course will show how consumption in everyday life generates a fascinating mix of homogeneity, difference, hybridity, commerce, and democratization for modern people in major creative cities.

Assessment: 100% coursework

SOCI8026. Self-identity and late-modern society (6 credits)

This course traces the rise of the notion of self-identity in the modern era and follows it through to contemporary times. Various notions of identity and their relationships will be discussed: personal identity, social identity, cultural identity, collective identity, national identity, etc. We will explore the changing experiences and meanings of collective and personal identities in late modern culture in domains such as work, family, religion, society, and the nation. We pay particular attention to the emergence of various contemporary identities in relation to the formation of creative class and creative culture. This will enable us to rethink the distinction between the public and the private, explore the social construction of the life course, the notion of cultural identity, the relationship between identity and creativity, and the dynamics of identity politics and new social movements in terms of age, body, class, religion, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, and more. The focus is on contemporary Hong Kong and Chinese experiences as well as other cities in the Asia/Pacific region, such as Singapore, Seoul, and Tokyo.

Assessment: 100% coursework

SOCI8027. Body, intimacy and sexuality (6 credits)

This course aims to investigate the significant changes happening in the private sphere of intimacy in late-modern times, paying particular attention to Chinese cities such as Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and other Asian cities such as Seoul, Taipei, Tokyo, Bangkok, and Singapore. Drawn from various disciplines such as feminism, gay and lesbian studies, queer theory, and contemporary theory of body, this course critically reviews a number of key issues: the debate of biological drive/social force in shaping sexual identity, gender difference and intimate behavior; the dynamics of agency/structure in understanding sexual performances and body practices; the development of sexual politics and movements; mainstreaming of sexuality and media representation; and commercialization of desires. This course also pays more attention to the newly emerging scripts that seem to shape femininity/masculinity, romantic love, intimate relationship, and family patterns.

Assessment: 100% coursework

SOCI8028.       Cultural policies and global cities (6 credits)

This course covers three different scopes of cultural policy, beginning with government supports for the arts, then the invention of creative industry policies and finally cultural citizenship. There has been an international trend of introducing entrepreneurialism into cultural policies in recent decades. Policies, involving both the government and civic organizations thus are formulated in order to enhance the competitiveness of nations and cities through various cultural projects. Global cities such as London, New York, Paris, Brussels, and Tokyo are seen to be capable of assuming a leading role in the cultural development and promotion of urban entrepreneurialism. This course examines comparatively how different policies evolve under different social and historical conditions, and how global cities redevelop their urban and cultural resources in order to sharpen their competitiveness in the context of the inter-city competition of a global economy, and explores how such experiences could be applied to Hong Kong. Topics to be covered in this course include entrepreneurialism, strategies of urban redevelopment, urban culture, and urban competitiveness. Students will also reflect on the problems associated with cultural, urban and creative development.

Assessment: 100% coursework

 

SOCI8029.       Creative industries and creative cities (6 credits)

This course explores the structures, processes, and cultural artifacts of the creative industries (performing arts, film and television, publishing, art and antique markets, music, architecture, digital entertainment, computer software development, animation production, fashion, and product design) and how they figure in the strategic repositioning of the city. It offers students a chance to critically examine the political economy and spatial organization of these industries of culture in different creative cities of the world. It also opens up debates generated by the intersection between culture, economy, and the city, such as high and low culture, innovation and standardization, capitalist dominance and democratic pluralism, authenticity and mechanical reproduction, power and resistance, the role of the creative class in city growth and regeneration, engineering and imagineering creative cities, cultural planning, and the city as a marketplace, sustaining the livable city.

Assessment: 100% coursework

SOCI8031. Special topics in media, culture and creative cities (6 credits)

This course provides students with a comprehensive understanding of current or newly emerging topics in media, culture and creative city. The course enables new subject or sub-specialist areas to be offered. It also facilitates innovative modes of teaching and learning. Subjects may inter alia, include:

  • Visual sociology and anthropology
  • Sensory cultures
  • Emotion and affect
  • Posthumanities and ethics
  • Biomedicine and biotechnology
  • New media, subjectivity and performativity
  • New thinkers in cultural studies
  • Risk, reflexivity and sustainable development
  • Critical pedagogy in media and culture
  • Body, place and flow – new directions in cultural studies
  • Private self and public sphere
  • Workshops in presenting and representing culture

Assessment: 100% coursework

Capstone

SOCI8030.       Capstone project (12 credits)

This course aims to teach students how to integrate and apply the knowledge and skills they acquired through the programme. Students will conduct a capstone project in close collaboration with community partners in the field of media, culture, and creative cities. Students select a topic from the list suggested by community partners and work on it over two semesters. The topics will relate to a variety of analytical, practical, and policy issues in the field. Sample topics may include: assessing the use of the web platform for preserving local history, the role of public engagement in cultural conservation projects, funding an international film festival, independent film making in the age of media convergence, radio broadcast after digitalization, gender identity and consumer culture in South China, the application of new media art in commercial settings, cultural clusters and art districts in Asia, a proposal for setting up a crafts museum in Hong Kong, and cultural policy after the West Kowloon Cultural District.

Students will work in groups under the guidance of a manager from the Community Partner, as well as a designated academic supervisor from the Department. Assessment of the capstone project will be based on progress report, oral presentation and a final written report. The final written report shall be submitted not later than July 31 of the final academic year of study.

*Individual project will only be considered on an exceptional basis and approved by the program director.

Assessment: 100% coursework