Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2005-2006 (archived)




Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2005/06 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To introduce theories, concepts and empirical findings relevant to the understanding and analysis of popular music within varied social contexts.
  • To examine the ways that various forms of popular music relate to their cultural and historical settings.
  • To develop skills in applying sociological theories, concepts and methods from classical and contemporary theorists to understanding and accounting for the social significance of popular music.
  • To enable students to understand the relations between the various institutions involved in the creation, performance, commodification, dissemination, and consumption of popular music forms.


  • Popular Music-Social, Cultural, Political and Economic phenomenon.
  • A Brief History-Popular Music in Britain and Europe, 1500-1800.
  • Industrialisation and Popular Music 1800-2000.
  • Music and the Black Atlantic-Black musics and the diaspora.
  • Adorno, Leavis and 'Mass Culture' Theses.
  • The meaning of music-methods of analysis.
  • Manufacturing and Managing Music.
  • Instruments, Technologies and Music making.
  • Music and Politics-Protest and propaganda and Horst Wessel to Hip Hop.
  • Modes of distribution, Media and musical styles - Broadsides Vinyl and Cyberworlds.
  • Music and communication media - Signs and Spaces and Satellites.
  • Will pop eat itself? Postmodernity and pop.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Have knowledge and understanding of contemporary and historical forms of popular music, and be able to appreciate their historical, cultural and social origins and significance.
  • Have knowledge and understanding of the key terms and concepts associated with this area of study, within the fields of musical production and appreciation, as well as the analytically appropriate sociological frameworks.
Subject-specific Skills:
Key Skills:
  • Demonstrate the ability to evaluate, synthesise and present ideas and information obtained from a variety of sources.
  • Demonstrate competency in the use of IT resources.
  • Demonstrate a capacity to improve own learning and performance.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Teaching is based on lectures and seminars and is structured around the learning outcomes above. Lectures are designed to provide a broad framework be addressing major themes, ideas, issues and debates. Students will be encouraged to develop their learning skills in relation to note-taking, wider reading and further study, and time management. Each seminar will be organised around a particular theme and have designated reading. Students will be encouraged and expected to be active participants; a programme of student presentations will help facilitate this involvement.
  • Assessment is by a summative essay and a summative examination; titles/questions will be orientated towards the learning outcomes. These modes of assessment are intended to give students an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of this area of study, and demonstrate their ability to draw on and use appropriate conceptual language. Formative essays, given part way through the module, are designed to help students develop the skills and abilities required for summative work.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 22 1 weekly 1 hour 22
Seminars 11 Fortnightly 1 hour 11
Other - Exhibition
Preparation and Reading 167
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Summative Assignment 1500-3000 words 100%
Component: Examination Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Unseen examination 2 hour 100%

Formative Assessment:

Two essays of 1,000 - 1,500 words - one in Term 1 and one in Term 2.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University