This programme challenges the assumptions behind the media and development industries and development studies, and offers new ways of thinking about the issues. The approach balances critical theoretical analysis of the hegemony implied by the ideas and practices of development with the practical issues surrounding the use of contemporary media, including notably digital technologies.
It draws on media theory, practical knowledge and experience, alongside critical debates within and about development, to challenge assumptions about the role of media and development industries. Students combine critical theoretical analysis of the role of media in development with a focus on practical issues surrounding the use of media, including digital technologies.
The programme differs from other degrees in the field by placing the onus on the role of media to further the Development agenda, especially post the Second World War. Students benefit from the unique position of the Centre for Media Studies as a specialist institution for the study of media in the global south.
It is designed for those with an interest in global media and development, including media and development professionals seeking alternative ways of thinking about their roles. It provides an excellent foundation for MPhil/PhD research.
1. How to assess data and evidence critically from texts, manuscripts, audio and video sources, both analog and digital, solve problems of conflicting sources and conflicting interpretations, develop skills in critical judgements of complex source materials, locate materials in print and on line, use research resources (particularly research library catalogues and websites) and other relevant traditional and electronic sources.
2. Knowledge and understanding of the dynamics and debates about the role of media and Information Communication Technologies in the development process: to be able to critically examine the discourses of development, the roles of national and international organizations, NGOs, citizens in defining and producing development and the emergence of critical and alternative paradigms for sustainable societies; to be aware of the key theoretical issues surrounding the role of media and Information Communication Technologies in development processes; to be able to analytically disaggregate economic, political, social and cultural strands of development and the nature of mediated practices within each; develop awareness of emergent models of sustainable development in which contemporary media practices play a key role; analyze the role of the media in hegemonic representations of social change and development.
Intellectual (thinking) skills:
1. To be critical and precise in their assessment of evidence, and to understand through practice what documents and electronic sources can and cannot tell us. Such skills should improve and be refined throughout the programme.
2. Question theories and interpretations, however authoritative, and critically reassess evidence for themselves. Students will learn how to question and challenge the accepted tenets both of development and media as the means of transmission of messages. These skills should improve and be refined throughout the programme.
3. Critically interrogate situated empirical examples of specific media and Information Communication Technologies practices in development contexts in Asia, Africa, Middle East
Subject-based practical skills:
1. Communicate effectively in writing
2. Retrieve, sift and select information from a variety of conventional and electronic sources
3. Communicate orally to a group. Listen and discuss ideas introduced during seminars and classes.
4. Practise research techniques in a variety of specialized research libraries and institutes.
5. Have developed some new competencies in digital media production and dissemination
1. Write good essays and dissertations
2. Structure and communicate ideas effectively both orally and in writing
3. Understand unconventional ideas
4. Study a variety of written and digital materials, in libraries, on line and research libraries of a kind they will not have used as undergraduates.
5. Present material orally to a group.
6. Have developed a range of on-line competencies
As well as academic expertise, MA Media in Development graduates from SOAS gain a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek. These include; written and oral communication skills, attention to detail, analytical and problem-solving skills and the ability to research, amass and order information from a variety of sources. This postgraduate degree provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.