• Offered by School of Sociology
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Sociology
  • Areas of interest Law, Political Communication, Sociology, Communications, Human Rights

This course introduces contemporary issues in media sociology, with a focus on the concept of the public sphere. The course has three key themes:
1) debates about news and the 'crisis' of journalism in the wake of digitization of communication;
2)  media/broadcasting policy and regulation—including social media—and the ideal of informed citizenship; and  
3) challenges to the notion of the public sphere from phenomena such as  populist politics and the rise of  'fake news'.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
  1. recognise some key controversies and debates within the literature on public sphere and media;
  2. identify the basic elements of dispute within a theoretical or methodological perspective;
  3. display skills associated with scholarly inquiry about the public sphere including those related to critical analysis, argument and written expression; and
  4. express ideas in writing with conceptual coherence.

Indicative Assessment

Critical Review, 1500 words (40%) Learning Outcomes 1-4
Tutorial Presentation of 10 minutes (10%) Learning Outcomes 1-3
Final Essay, 3000 words (50%) Learning Outcomes 1, 2, and 4 

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of tutorials and tutorial-like activities; and
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have successfully completed 12 units of 1000 level courses, or with permission of the convenor.

Prescribed Texts

Readings will be provided on the course Wattle site

Preliminary Reading

Jones,P.K & Holmes,D. (2011) Key Concepts in Media & Communications. London: Sage.

Fraser, N. (1992) ‘Rethinking the Public Sphere: towards a critique of actually existing democracy’. In Craig Calhoun (ed) Habermas and the Public Sphere: Critical Debates. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
Fuchs, C. (2014). Social media and the public sphere. tripleC: Communication, Capitalism & Critique. Open Access Journal for a Global Sustainable Information Society, 12(1), 57-101.
Habermas, J. (2009). ‘Media, Markets and Consumers: The Quality Press as the Backbone of the Public Sphere.’ In Europe: The Faltering Project. Cambridge (UK): Polity Press.
Habermas,J. (1974) ‘The Public Sphere: An Encyclopedia Article’, New German Critique 1(3), 49-55. (First published 1964).
Jacobs, R. N. (2010) ‘Entertainment Media and the Aesthetic Public Sphere’. In J.Alexander, R.Jacobs & P.Smith (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Cultural Sociology. N.Y.: Oxford UP.



Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $3840
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $4980
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3678 20 Feb 2023 27 Feb 2023 31 Mar 2023 26 May 2023 In Person N/A

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