Modular Period IV 

Media, Conflict, and Social Change
(Wolfgang Sützl and Lawrence Wood)

While much research has been conducted examining the role of media in war, and some renowned theorists such as Friedrich Kittler suggest that all media development has their origin in war, media can also potentially play a role in promoting positive social change and in building peace. If communication and dialogue are key elements of peace building, then the media that are created and employed in the process are crucial, as we can no longer separate the messages we exchange from the media through which we exchange them.  The very process of designing, modifying or using media in various ways therefore has a peace-building potential.  In relation to these ideas, this course explores, through theoretical and applied perspectives, relationships between media and social change, including in regards to peace and conflict. Thus, it will examine how media in various forms and at different scales (such as community media, social media, and international mass media) can inform and shape our understandings of issues associated with peace, conflict, and development. In doing so, it will draw upon ideas and approaches ranging from critical analyses of media content, to relatively more applied approaches associated with the field of strategic communication, including as practiced by military and government institutions, international development organizations, and NGOs. As a means to examine variations in activities and contexts, the course will incorporate case studies from different parts of the world. Overall, students will be challenged to think critically about both the positive and negative aspects associated with media – in both traditional and emerging forms – and efforts towards social change.


The Program reserves the right to changes in schedules.