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Programme & Unit Catalogues

PL31008: Conflict and the media

[Page last updated: 02 August 2022]

Academic Year: 2022/23
Owning Department/School: Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies
Credits: 6 [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 120
Level: Honours (FHEQ level 6)
Semester 2
Assessment Summary: CW 33%, ES 67%
Assessment Detail:
  • Coursework (CW 33%)
  • Essay (ES 67%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Learning Outcomes: By the end of the unit, participants will:
* Show an advanced understanding of the theoretical context of how media influences conflict.
* Understand the evolution of war reporting and media management techniques from the Crimean War to the current era.
* Have a detailed knowledge of how public opinion has impacted policy in a variety of conflicts
* Demonstrate skills in interrogation and analysis of strategic communications and news materials, including the impact of technology on these.
* Critically evaluate the media's role in the changing character of conflict and the constantly evolving nature of this relationship
* Students are expected to show evidence of having achieved these outcomes through:
- An original individual press report, demonstrating knowledge of journalistic format and editorial slant, and an ability to write concisely to tight deadlines.
- Active participation in practical class exercises and discussion forums on Moodle.
- An original individual analytical essay demonstrating skills in data synthesis, analysis and presentation.

Aims: This unit will give students the theoretical and empirical evidence necessary to understand the dynamic interaction between the media and conflict. The module firstly introduces students to seminal theoretical texts on the nature of the media, and how the media influences conflict, before exploring the contemporary media environment. Then, the evolution of the relationship between conflict and the media will be traced through interlinked historical case studies. The major investigative strands of strategic communications, military-media relations, and public opinion runs through each of the four case studies. The last section of the module examines the relationship between the media and terrorism, before addressing the emerging theoretical argument of war as a battle for narrative through analysis of recent propaganda and psychological operations
The unit therefore provides the theoretical and empirical context for students interested in understanding and investigating the realities of the relationship between conflict and the media. It will be enhanced by guest lecturers who are experts in the field. It is intended to complement classes on governance and international relations.

Skills: Students will develop skills in critical analysis, teamwork and collaboration, and presentation skills (both oral and written). They will hone transferable writing skills, including the ability to present an argument clearly, concisely, and effectively.

Content: Theories of media and conflict
Understanding modern media
From the Crimea to the Cold War
Losing control: Vietnam
Taking control: The Falklands to the Gulf
Who's in control? Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria
Terrorism and the media
War as Narrative: Propaganda and PsyOps.

Programme availability:

PL31008 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies
  • UHPL-AYB13 : BA(Hons) French and Politics with Year Abroad (Year 4)
  • UHPL-AYB12 : BA(Hons) German and Politics with Year Abroad (Year 4)
  • UHPL-AYB16 : BA(Hons) Italian ab initio and Politics with Year Abroad (Year 4)
  • UHPL-AYB17 : BA(Hons) Spanish and Politics with Year Abroad (Year 4)
  • UHPL-AFB30 : BSc(Hons) Politics and International Relations (Year 3)
  • UHPL-AAB30 : BSc(Hons) Politics and International Relations with Study year abroad (Year 4)
  • UHPL-AKB30 : BSc(Hons) Politics and International Relations with Year long work placement (Year 4)
  • UHPL-AFB10 : BSc(Hons) Politics with Economics (Year 3)
  • UHPL-AAB10 : BSc(Hons) Politics with Economics with Study year abroad (Year 4)
  • UHPL-AKB10 : BSc(Hons) Politics with Economics with Year long work placement (Year 4)


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2022/23 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2023/24 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2022/23.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change 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.
  • Find out more about these and other important University terms and conditions here.