Singapore University of Social Sciences

Popular Culture

Popular Culture (SOC365)


Culture manifests itself in many forms. A form of culture that could be fruitfully studied is popular culture. SOC365 Popular Culture is an advanced-level course that exposes students to a wide range of theoretical perspectives for understanding the complexities of popular culture through a sociological lens. Students will apply these insights to empirical examples and case studies from around the world. The definition of popular culture is multifarious. In this course, popular culture will be studied as a set of artefacts with significant social and political functions and effects. The course adopts a sociological approach to studying popular culture by analysing how practices of production and consumption are shaped by broader socio-political and economic forces, and the ways in which they intersect with various aspects of social, political and economic life. For a comprehensive analysis of popular culture, students will also be exposed to insights from other disciplines such as cultural studies, media and communication studies. By the end of the course, students will be able to hone their analytical, research and academic writing skills.

Level: 3
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: EVERY JAN


  • Perspectives and debates in the study of popular culture
  • Sociological approaches to the study of popular culture
  • Production of popular culture: Marxism, ideology and political economy
  • Production of popular culture: Structuralism, post-structuralism, postmodernism
  • Globalisation of popular culture: Transnational flows
  • Globalisation of popular culture: Soft power
  • Social identities in popular culture: race and class
  • Social identities in popular culture: gender
  • Resistance and subcultures
  • State regulation and censorship of popular culture
  • Cultural consumption and fan culture
  • Creative and civic engagement through popular culture

Learning Outcome

  • Discuss the major concepts and theories of the sociology of popular culture
  • Examine the trends, patterns and socio-political effects associated with popular culture through a sociological lens
  • Analyse popular culture in relation to the media and communications industries
  • Appraise local and global discourses of popular culture
  • Apply your theoretical knowledge of popular culture to empirical case studies and real-world scenarios
  • Evaluate arguments and discourses on popular culture
  • Formulate theories and arguments based on a synthesis of debates and research on popular culture
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