The basic premise of this course is that anthropology offers a distinct and valuable approach to the bottom-up study of people’s engagements with modern mass media, using ethnography to understand the social and cultural effects of mass media at the ground level. We therefore study the actual media effects in the lives of real persons, as producers, consumers or brokers for modern media. In the process, students will benefit from an expansion of their knowledge of social and cultural theory, while also gaining an appreciation for different applications of ethnographic fieldwork. As a result of this course, we will become familiar with some of the main concepts and methods that anthropologists use in studying mass media and cyberspace. Students will develop their own critical skills as they analyze media and apply concepts in their own work.

One of the instructional purposes of this course is to intensively engage students in developing critical skills that will serve them in careers and/or in graduate studies. The ability to sift through data; apply theories; write concise descriptive and analytical accounts; presenting one's work to an audience; and to develop a research proposal are just some of the fundamental features of this course. "Ethnography", in various guises, has become a "hot" commodity in many spheres of media and market research--this course will equip students with a well structured understanding of ethnography of media and will guide them in developing ethnographic research projects.

This course and this website have been prepared by:
Dr. Maximilian C. Forte (anthropologist)
Department of Anthropology and Sociology
University College of Cape Breton
Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
June-July 2004.