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Contesting Culture


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 7
  • Convenor: Professor Melissa Butcher
  • Assessment: a methods case study of 3000 words (40%) and an essay of 5000 words (60%)

Module description

This module aims to examine critical sites of cultural conflict through analysis of encounter and change, and to introduce you to the analytical tools of cultural geography. Cultural constructs such as home, the nation and ethnicity are crucial components in defining our sense of place and identity, and yet the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have seen unprecedented challenges to how these concepts are defined. Drivers of cultural change such as globalisation, transnational mobility and technology appear to have disrupted the relationship between space, place and belonging.

Informed by the latest research and using a variety of teaching methods, including mapping, audio-visual and discourse analysis, this course aims to provide you with the tools to analyse the processes and impacts of contesting and transforming cultural boundaries. In addition, you will develop research skills such as critical thinking, evaluating different sources of information, writing extended arguments and applying analytical tools to relevant case studies from your own experience.

Indicative module content

  • Identity, nationalism and cultural conflict
  • Contesting boundaries and redrawing maps
  • The politics of representation
  • Re-imagining home in a global context, focusing on migration and the global workplace
  • Cultural encounter and cosmopolitanism in global cities
  • Youth culture and intergenerational change
  • Representation and media landscapes
  • How governments and individuals might go about managing the impacts of cultural change

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you should be able to:

  • understand the relationship between culture, identity, space and power
  • understand key analytical approaches to the study of cultural practices and beliefs
  • demonstrate research skills such as applying theoretical frameworks and analytical tools to investigate relevant case studies
  • evaluate theoretical and policy approaches to processes of cultural change, including different strategies of multiculturalism and working with diversity
  • evaluate cultural research practice including ethnography and visual methods.