This course looks at how the industries of media and public relations have been used as instruments of social control and propaganda by economic and political elites. Examined will be the following: the historical roots of the public relations industry in government propaganda efforts; the contemporary influence of the public relations industry on public debate of social issues; the role of public relations in distorting discussion of the military/industrial complex; the effects of structuring media systems around the needs of advertisers; the role of media and public relations in how the public understands both domestic and international issues (such as war).
This course will examine the relationship between commercialized systems of representation and the way that gender and sexuality are thought of and organized in the culture. In particular, we will look at how commercial imagery impacts upon gender identity and the process of gender socialization. Central to this discussion will be the related issues of sexuality and sexual representation (and the key role played by advertising).
\This course looks at advertising from the viewpoint of social theory (that is, of how we can understand advertising's broad political, economic, social, and cultural role in modern society). The course will broadly examine the social role of advertising in consumer societies with a central focus its relationship to: the construction of individual identity, the quest for happiness; the evolving environmental crisis based on depleting resources and climate change; the process of globalization; the commercialization of childhood; the definition of health and wellness; and the crisis of financial debt.