The Department of Media offers programmes in television, radio, music production, media and film studies, advertising, photography and journalism at our campus sites in Chester and Warrington, serving more than 500 students at undergraduate, Master’s and PhD levels.

Recent Submissions

  • 'The best is yet come' - exclusive interview with Liverpool FC and Senegal star, Sadio Mane

    Hassall, Paul; University of Chester (TI Media Limited, 2019-03-05)
    An exclusive profile-interview with Liverpool and Senegal international, Sadio Mane. The forward discusses the burden of expectation for club and country.
  • Remember Scarborough Re-Active Propaganda as Natural Ethics

    Hart, Christopher; University of Chester (Midrash, 2018-10-14)
    In chapter 2 Christopher Hart’s ‘Remember Scarborough. Re-Active Propaganda as Natural Ethics’ takes a popular and often reproduced poster called ‘remember Scarborough’ to propose the use of moral philosophy to recover the deeper meaning this and similar posters would have had following the German naval bombardments of towns on the North East English coast in December 1916. Hart asks, How did the official propaganda published following the bombardment of towns on the North East Coast of England, in December 1914, express deeply held moral outrage, and as such represented a real morality and not mistreatment of truth? At the core of his argument is that the poster ‘Remember Scarborough’ is not naïve propaganda or an exaggeration. Surveying the reasons given by the German high command and reporting of the bombardments in German newspapers, Hart argues there was no strategic justification for the attacks. Turning to deviancy theory and moral philosophy Hart proposes that the bombardments were an action of a German Navy, humiliated in a previous sea battle. They had to gain face with their high command and the German public that despite their attempts to justify the attacks, they expressed disregard for the Hague Convention (1906) and turned to revenge as a tactic, and as such, abandoned any claim to morality. The words and the images on the poster ‘Remember Scarborough’ are, according to Hart, much more than a call to arms; they express deeply held outrage that the attacks were an assault on humanity.
  • Introduction

    Hart, Christopher; University of Chester (Midrash, 2018-10-14)
    This introduction proposes the argument that during the First World War entertainments , media and popular culture used the war to attract audiences and readers - five propositions are introduced. The first is this. Entertainment as a topic for study is not trivial, inconsequential or irrelevant. To understand any culture look at what its members do for their entertainment. This includes looking at such things as, in 1914, jokes and humour, songs and music, drama and plays, cartoons and caricatures, films and animation, fiction and gossip, photographs and illustrations, advertising and posters, and newspapers and magazines. This proposition will be discussed in more detail once the other four propositions have been stated. The second position is this. The core activities that are taken as entertainment, such as the cinema, books, music and newspapers, are surrounded by the institutions, industries and crafts which bring the entertainments to the marketplace. The third position is the recognition people read, sing, watch, listen and laugh not just for leisure but also when doing work and other activities. Entertainment does not always have to be separate from the workplace or from time doing work-based tasks; it can be incorporated into most aspects of life. The fourth position follows on from longstanding debates about hierarchical schemes of entertainment regarding differentiated cultural value. Notions of high culture and low culture, popular culture and elite culture are overworked dichotomies that distract attention from the entertainment under study, as a thing in itself, and lead to prejudice against one of the classes of entertainment on the scale. If classical music performances are elitist, exclusionist and class-based it does not entail they are ‘bad' and things should be otherwise. It is not the music or musicians that are excluding anyone. It is the instructional arrangements that bring such performances to the marketplace, a lack of education provided about the value of the experience and, possibly, snobbishness of some audiences. The fifth proposition is entertainment is about audience experience. This can take multiple forms for the same audience of an entertainment. Bosshart and Macconi (1998) include the following in a list of possible experiences an audience member can take from consuming a particular media - obtaining relaxation, being distracted, seeing something different to the norm, seeking excitement or a thrill, wanting to laugh, sharing the joy and enjoying a place.
  • “Any closer and you’d be Mom”: The limits of post-feminist paternity in the films of Robin Williams

    Barnett, Katie; University of Chester (Rowman and Littlefield, 2015-12-03)
    This chapter explores the representation of fatherhood in the films of Robin Williams, considering the actor's star persona alongside his persistent performance as 'father' in a range of films from the late 1980s into the 2000s. The chapter includes an in-depth analysis of Williams' role in Mrs Doubtfire and the implications for post-feminist performances of paternity, and concludes with a discussion of Williams' suicide in 2014 and the ways in which this news was filtered through the same paternal persona established in his films.
  • On the Cusp: Exploring Male Adolescence and the Underbelly of High School in Freaks and Geeks

    Barnett, Katie; University of Chester (Routledge, 2018-06-26)
    This chapter examines the representation of adolescent masculinity in Freaks and Geeks, focusing on the three 'geeks' of the series' title. It suggests that the anxiety experienced by the boys in the series is a reflection on a wider crisis of masculinity, occurring both within the timeline of the programme (1980) and the period of its release (1999). The chapter also explores the function of nostalgia in Freaks and Geeks and discusses the issues of authenticity and realism around the series' depiction of an American high school experience.
  • It’s Only Teenage Wasteland: The Home Media Revival of Freaks and Geeks

    Barnett, Katie; University of Chester (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017-10-27)
    This chapter explores the home media revival of the short-lived US TV series Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000), examining the ways in which successful fan campaigns led to the broadcast of missing episodes and the eventual DVD release of the series in 2004. The developing cult status of Freaks and Geeks is discussed, with particular reference to the series' use of music and the ways this both contributes to the authenticity of the programme and became a barrier to its home media release.
  • Fans & Consumption

    Duffett, Mark; University of Chester (Bloomsbury, 2019)
    This chapter surveys different ideas from popular music studies, fan studies and associated areas to explain how ‘the rock audience’ has been perceived. It outlines four theoretical perspectives which can be associated in various ways. The first suggests that our understanding of the audience is a consequence of rock’s extended reaction against elitist criticism. The second says rock has created a kind of community, or at least communality. The third suggests that mainstream media representations have hidden significant fan productivity. A final perspective suggests that ‘the rock audience’ is actually a composite housing a variety of discreet experiences based on the social identities of its individual participants. In other words, for example, males and female fans may have distinct experiences; the same goes for fans of particular generations, national identities, musical tastes, subgenre interests, and so on. The chapter argues that a critically nuanced approach is required: in every instance, we need to ask by who and for what purpose and is ‘the rock audience’ being defined.
  • Why Pep’s Manchester City could push past Barcelona as the Harlem Globetrotters of football

    Hassall, Paul; University of Chester (Eurosport UK, 2016-11-02)
    How Manchester City's Champions League win over Barcelona was a significant milestone in Pep Guardiola's side's aim of breaking into Europe's elite.
  • Counting Down Elvis: His 100 Finest Songs

    Duffett, Mark; University of Chester (Rowman and Littlefield, 2018-02-01)
    Counting Down Elvis: His 100 Finest songs is a book length analysis of Elvis Presley's recorded music. It includes discussion of celebrity image, song history, prior versions, music genre, critical evaluation and occasional contextualizing cultural history (1950s to 1970s). The academic popular music historian B. Lee Cooper has reviewed the book for a peer-reviewed academic journal. This is a 'remixed' version of the manuscript in chronological rather than count down order.
  • Negotiating identity politics via networked communication: a case study of the Welsh-speaking population in Patagonia, Argentina

    Roberts, Simon Gwyn; University of Chester (Cambridge Scholars, 2017-09-01)
    This chapter examines the communicative and political potential of networked communication in the specific context of marginalized linguistic communities. The work concerns the remnant Welsh-speaking population in Patagonia, Argentina, descended from 19th century migrants who attempted to establish an exclusive and deliberately isolated Welsh-speaking enclave in the region. Since then, the ‘enclave’ has been absorbed into the wider Argentinian ethnic and linguistic melting pot with Welsh-speaking residents now Argentinian citizens claiming dual linguistic and cultural heritage, and therefore represents a kind of archetype for a wider journey from conflict and exclusivity to compromise, inclusivity and hybridity.
  • Impossible Unity? Representing Internal Diversity in Post-Devolution Wales

    Roberts, Simon Gwyn; University of Chester-- (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015-09-16)
    The gradual transformation of British politics through the processes of devolution has been a ‘work in progress’ since Scotland and Wales voted in favour in the 1997 referenda (in the case of Wales, for the creation of an Assembly with devolved powers). Yet these major constitutional changes have not been matched by a realignment of the UK media (Cushion, Lewis and Groves, 2009). In this context, the particular deficiencies of the Welsh media have become increasingly politically relevant in recent years, with its shortcomings (in terms of informing the public about devolved politics) regularly highlighted by politicians, academics and journalists. A 2014 BBC poll, for example, found that fewer than half of Welsh respondents knew the NHS was devolved, which Thomas (2014) suggests results from a Welsh media landscape in which “huge numbers of people” get their news from London-based newspapers. The contrast with Scotland is marked: while Scottish devolution provided a pretext for London-based national newspapers to reduce news content from all three devolved nations it simultaneously provided a catalyst for the further development of an independent media policy in Scotland itself. In interviews, London journalists argued that since Scotland had its own parliament it had its ‘own news’ and its own newspaper editions to carry it (Denver, 2002). More recently, Macwhirter (2014) rued the financial decline of the Scottish newspaper industry, suggesting that this makes it harder for the Scottish media to perform their traditional role as ‘cultural curators’ and forum for informed debate. However, sentiments like this merely highlight the more acute media deficiency in Wales, because the Welsh media is considerably more fragmented than its Scottish equivalent, with no real tradition of a Welsh national press to draw on and the majority of newspaper readers dependent on London-based publications. Around 1,760,000 (from a total population of three million) read newspapers with ‘virtually no Welsh content’ (Davies, 2008).
  • 'A pit we have dug ourselves': The EU referendum and the Welsh democratic deficit

    Roberts, Simon Gwyn; University of Chester (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018-06-26)
    The chapter examines the Welsh Brexit vote from a news media perspective, locating it within the long-standing 'democratic deficit' and absence of Welsh national press.
  • Nurturing English regionalism: A new role for local newspapers in a federal UK?

    Roberts, Simon Gwyn; University of Chester (Intellect, 2017-01-20)
    Any constitutional move towards a federal system in the United Kingdom would inevitably be unbalanced by England’s obvious economic, cultural and numerical dominance. Some form of English regional devolution is therefore essential if we are to progress as a multinational state post Scottish and Welsh devolution. This article adopts a deliberately polemical approach to a consideration of the potential role of regional English newspapers in that context, suggesting that their established links with a coherent audience, rooted in place, might allow them to act as a vehicle for debate and nurture a sense of regional identity often absent from contemporary English politics. Regional newspapers are ‘culturally specific’ and have a key role to play in articulating the popular experience of post-devolution political change: this might also present this struggling sector with valuable commercial opportunities as they take advantage of the new political paradigm to further embed themselves within their communities.
  • Hillsborough: Justice at last, but the city of Liverpool always knew the truth

    Hassall, Paul; University of Chester (Eurosport Uk, 2016-04-27)
    A response to the verdicts of the Hillsborough inquest
  • Mrs Miniver (1942): Moral Identity and Creation of the Other

    Hart, Christopher; University of Chester (Midrash, 2015-11-10)
    In Chapter 2 Christopher Hart (University of Chester, UK) takes a popular wartime film, Mrs. Miniver (1942) and analyses it from a Simmelian (derived from the work of Georg Simmel) frame of reference. Taking the assumption that Mrs. Miniver is a ‘why we fight’ film, Hart looks closely at this categorization to make visible for analysis the essentially moral messages in the narrative. Through a detailed examination of several social forms including, value exchange, time and temporality, Americanisation, and conflict Hart argues that categorizing Mrs. Miniver as a ‘why we fight’ film is overtly simplistic and misses the purpose of the film and its director William Wyler. Mrs. Miniver is, Hart argues, a narrative about the future of civilization. Mrs. Miniver was aimed at the American audience, some of who when the film was being made, were advocating isolationism. Mrs. Miniver presents the Americans with a moral choice between supporting the moral choice already made by the British not to capitulate to the ‘evil of Nazism’ or to do nothing and allow Nazism to establish itself as a world order. On 7th December, 1941 with the Japanese attack on Pearle Harbor this moral choice was largely lost and Mrs. Miniver became, regardless of its widespread popularity, classified as a why we fight film.
  • I’m (Not) A Girl: Animating Experiences of Girlhood in Bob’s Burgers

    Barnett, Katie; University of Chester (Intellect, 2019)
    Discourses of girlhood increasingly acknowledge its mutability, with the ‘girl’ as a complex image that cannot adequately be conceptualized by age or biology alone. Likewise, theories of animation often foreground its disruptive potential. Taking an interdisciplinary approach that encompasses girlhood studies, animation studies, and screen studies, this article analyses the representation of the two main girl characters, Tina and Louise Belcher, in the animated sitcom Bob’s Burgers (2011–present). Taking this concept of mutability as its central focus, it argues that animation is an ideal medium for representing girlhood, given its disruptive potential and non-linear capacities, whereby characters are often frozen in time. With no commitment to aging its young female characters, Bob’s Burgers is instead able to construct a landscape of girlhood that allows for endless reversal, contradiction and overlap in the experiences of Tina and Louise, whose existence as animations reveals girlhood as a liminal space in which girls can be one thing and the other – gullible and intelligent, vulnerable and strong, sexual and innocent – without negating their multifarious experiences.
  • Leaving the Building: Elvis, Celebrity and the Limits of Psychological Autopsy

    Duffett, Mark; Hearsum, Paula; University of Chester; University of Brighton (l’Association Française d’Études Américaines, 2018-10)
    This article probes the limits of one particular mode of biographic investigation—psychological autopsy—and considers its relationship to the way in which fans have sought to understand their hero. Using Elvis as a case study, we aim to prompt wider discussion about the efficacy of psychological autopsy as a means of understanding popular individuals. If psychological autopsy is so compromised, why does it remain popular? Our discussion develops in two parts. The first examines how psychological autopsy departs from objectivity and is problematic as theory. The second asks why fans are still interested in discussing why Elvis died, even though psychological autopsy necessarily lacks methodological rigour.
  • The Once and Future King: Negotiating the Survival of Boys in 1990s Cinema

    Barnett, Katie; University of Chester (Berghahn, 2015-09-01)
    On the cinema screen, boyhood has often been depicted as a period of freedom, rebellion, and energy, a pre-cursor to manhood in which young boys are able to negotiate their identity and place within the world. In 1990s Hollywood, however, a wave of films turn to depicting the death of young boys on screen. As a result, boyhood becomes a site of vulnerability and weakness. This article seeks to examine the implications of these deaths, framing them within the context of a wider negotiation of masculinity and fatherhood politics. In addition, it questions the extent to which the deaths of these young boys can be read queerly, subverting the drive towards the future inherent in the figure of the child.
  • Horizontal dancefloors and vertical screens: Club culture in the cinema and the diegesis of the dancefloor

    Morrison, Simon A.; University of Chester; University of Leeds (Cine-Clube de Avanca, 2012)
    The culture – in particular the counterculture - of an age will always inform its cinema. This paper will argue that the most significant countercultural movement of the last 25 years has been the “rave” revolution, that morphed into Electronic Dance Music Culture (EDMC). The paper will address how that scene can be read through the medium of its cinematic representation, in UK films such as Human Traffic (1999) and North American productions such as 2012’s Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy. The paper will focus on the way music is utilised within EDMC film texts and the particular issues raised by the use of music in “clubbing” movies. The paper will firstly address non-diegetic codes and the particular issues of scoring a film that itself is focused on the tropes and modes of electronic music, by drawing on the primary input of composers. The argument will then move on to the more ambiguous area of diegetic codes, for instance retro fitting music to time-coded nightclub sequences, postproduction. The paper will then look at metadiegesis, when the music actually forms part of the club experience, blurring these diegetic boundaries and highlighting the peculiar issues that arise when rotating a horizontal dancefloor onto a vertical cinema screen.
  • Tramps Like Them: Jack and Bruce and the Myth of the American Road

    Morrison, Simon A.; University of Chester (Bloomsbury Academic, 2018-03-03)
    Abstract: ‘I try to explain to him the teddy is throwing a kink into our Kerouac On The Road cool, but Matt’s committed to his bear, so we drive on.’ Bruce Springsteen, Born To Run autobiography When Bruce Springsteen appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs at the end of 2015 he did not mention author Jack Kerouac in the list of writers he would consider for his book choice. However, his reference to Kerouac and the teddy bear in his autobiography (above) perhaps reveals stronger, if stranger connections than he imagined, with Kerouac ending the key work On The Road looking over ‘the long, long skies over New Jersey’, Springsteen’s home state, where ‘tonight the stars’ll be out, and don’t you know that God is Pooh Bear?’ Unlike, then, the physical proximity of Allen Ginsberg to Bob Dylan, or the overt creative influence of Jack Kerouac on music characters such as Patti Smith and Tom Waits there is, at first glance, no obvious link between Jack Kerouac and Bruce Springsteen. This chapter, however, will explore and then uncover the links that do, in fact, exist between the two. These can broadly be defined in three ways. Firstly, there are sartorial connections in the way the two men dress and present themselves, with Springsteen adopting the jeans, T, and work-shirt look that very much defined The Beats. Secondly, there are obvious thematic links between the musical and literary work of these two icons of American popular culture: a mythologising interest in blue collar, small town America and the way it harbours past love affairs; male friendship; the open road and the freedom it suggests. Finally, there are defined stylistic links in the free-flowing lyricism that defines the words and worlds of both men. Although these three areas provide the main focus for this account other synergies may also be seen between the two: their European heritage; troubled relationship with patriotism and the American flag; family dynamics; Catholicism. More than anything, however, this chapter will explore the ways Jack Kerouac was able to make literature powerful in a new and alluring way, and similarly how Springsteen was able to engage globally, musically, in a way that could never have happened without Kerouac’s influence. Key words: Bruce Springsteen, Jack Kerouac, Beat Generation, Rock Music

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