The academic investigation of the mass media from perspectives such as media sociology, media psychology, media history, media semiotics, and critical discourse analysis. It includes media-specific studies such as television studies, radio studies, and web studies. As an academic degree subject, media studies emerged in the 1970s in the UK, where it is closely associated with cultural studies; in the USA its concerns are largely represented within the context of communication studies; it also overlaps with the study of journalism. It includes the study of the mass media as institutions, issues of media ownership and control, media production, representation, and audiences. Cross-media genres such as advertising and news are also a key focus. Courses differ in the relative emphasis given to the development of practical media skills. In cultural rhetoric, ‘media studies’ is frequently used as a pejorative reference to the apparently laughable notion of the media being treated as worthy of serious academic attention; it is caricatured (often, ironically, in the mass media) as a non-academic subject for people seen as incapable of studying anything more demanding. Such views are associated with cultural elitism, with the mass media being dismissed as popular culture or mass culture. A highly selective form of film studies emerged originally as a separate subject on the basis of an association with high art, and although separate degrees in film studies still exist, the study of film (or at least popular film) is now also widespread within media studies courses.
Subjects: Media Studies.