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SP20262: The manufacture of consent

Follow this link for further information on academic years Academic Year: 2012/3
Follow this link for further information on owning departmentsOwning Department/School: Department of Social & Policy Sciences
Follow this link for further information on credits Credits: 6
Follow this link for further information on unit levels Level: Intermediate (FHEQ level 5)
Follow this link for further information on period slots Period: Semester 2
Follow this link for further information on unit assessment Assessment: CW100
Follow this link for further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment: Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Follow this link for further information on unit rules Requisites:
Follow this link for further information on unit content Description: Aims:
This unit is intended to provide students with the theoretical material necessary to understand the role of opinion management, propaganda and 'spin' in society. The Manufacture of Consent introduces students to the history and practice of techniques emerging around the turn of the twentieth century, which were intended to manage public opinion. These developments are the root of the 'spin culture' of today and this module ensures that students have a firm grasp on why and how they were introduced. This is important as it provides the necessary context to understanding the role of communications in power and democracy and the role of consent in advanced societies. In addition the students will learn about the key institutions attempting to manage consent today and how they might be researched.
The unit provides theoretical context for students interested in understanding and investigating real world situations and processes associated with neoliberalism and globalisation. It is intended to complement classes, which provide methods and techniques training as well as those with a more substantive content which deal with issues of power and governance.

Learning Outcomes:
By the end of the unit, participants will:
* Show an advanced understanding of the emergence of techniques for managing opinion and consent in advanced societies.
* Understand how interests and ideas are related and how interests are pursued through the use of ideological and practical contest.
* Have a detailed knowledge of the rise and operation of state propaganda and the public relations, opinion and market research industries
* Demonstrate skills in interrogation and analysis of rhetoric in policy, promotional and news materials
* Use critical theories on the manufacture of consent to analyse policy and other pronouncements;
* Students are expected to show evidence of having achieved these outcomes through:
* Active participation in practical class exercises and discussion forums on Moodle.
* An original individual analytical essay demonstrating skills in data synthesis, analysis and presentation.


* To think creatively and analytically;
* To communicate an argument;
* To evaluate others' arguments and research;
* To learn independently and be able to assess own learning needs (i.e. identify strengths and improve weaknesses in methods of learning and studying);
* To critically evaluate and assess research and evidence as well as a variety of other information;
* To gather information, data, research and literature from a number of different sources (i.e. library, web-based, archives etc.);
* To select appropriate and relevant information from a wide source and large body of knowledge;
* To synthesise information from a number of sources in order to gain a coherent understanding;
* To utilise problem solving skills;
* To analyse and evaluate innovative practices in students' relevant degree discipline;
* To effectively and efficiently apply principles of sociological/social policy analysis within a variety of environments;
* To develop study & learning skills (note taking, avoiding plagiarism, using the library, gathering and using information, constructing a bibliography, referencing);
* To develop basic information and computing technology skills (word processing, email, using the web to search for information);
* To develop inter-personal and communication skills;
* To develop essay research, preparation and writing skills;
* To be able to construct a bibliography of varying complexity;
* To develop time-management and administrative skills;
* To develop team and group working skills;
* To reflect upon his/her own academic and professional performance and take responsibility for personal and professional learning and development;
* To solve problems in a variety of situations;
* To manage time effectively and respond to changing demands;
* To prioritise workloads, and utilise long- and short-term planning skillls.

1. Democracy, propaganda and the Manufacture of Consent
2. The think tank revolution
3. Global governance and Neoliberal revolution
4. The uses of science
5. Lobbying and power
6. From Social Democracy to New Labour
7. Propaganda, War on Terror & Information Dominance after 9/11
8. Spin, opinion polling and opinion control
9. Neoconservative propaganda networks, Islamophobia and the 'decent left'
10. Public Relations and the Manufacture of Consent today
11. Revision.
Follow this link for further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

SP20262 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Social & Policy Sciences
  • UHSP-AFB16 : BSc (hons) Social Policy (Full-time) - Year 2
  • UHSP-AKB16 : BSc (hons) Social Policy (Full-time with Thick Sandwich Placement) - Year 2
  • UHSP-AFB05 : BSc (hons) Social Sciences (Full-time) - Year 2
  • UHSP-AKB05 : BSc (hons) Social Sciences (Full-time with Thick Sandwich Placement) - Year 2
  • UHSP-AFB04 : BSc (hons) Sociology (Full-time) - Year 2
  • UHSP-AKB04 : BSc (hons) Sociology (Full-time with Thick Sandwich Placement) - Year 2
  • UHSP-AFB10 : BSc (hons) Sociology and Social Policy (Full-time) - Year 2
  • UHSP-AKB10 : BSc (hons) Sociology and Social Policy (Full-time with Thick Sandwich Placement) - Year 2

* This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2012/13 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2013/14 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2012/13.
* Programmes and units are subject to change at any time, in accordance with normal University procedures.
* Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.