Fall 2019 - CMNS 804 G100

Seminar in Advanced Communication Theory (5)

Class Number: 3607

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 3 – Dec 2, 2019: Mon, 1:30–5:20 p.m.




 Political uncertainties and fast technological change have challenged media and communication policy research and lead in the last decade to a range of scholarly meta-reflections that discuss the relevance of policy for the broader field of media and communication studies. Many scholars have addressed ideological and analytical barriers of research, criticized the neglect of context and, generally, made aware of how different philosophy of science traditions shape policy research in media and communication studies. In this course, we revisit policy as a field of scholarly inquiry in media and communication studies as it has developed over the years. We discuss their value for current discussions both of academic, public and of political nature. We will discuss ways and motives with which scholars analyze questions of policy, power and governance to understand the rise of different normative foundations of modes of policy formation, articulation and interpretation over time and across countries.


Course Format/Learning Outcomes:

This is a weekly participatory seminar. Students will learn about different perspectives and approaches in media and communication policy research, current epistemological and ontological discussions and the different implications those have on the development of the field within media and communication studies.  

The course is a seminar based on reading and discussion with comments and guidance from the instructor. The aim is to engage with the material, aiming for intellectual independence, critical engagement, synthesis and evaluation rather than regurgitation. There will be issue-based team presentations, research workshops on current policy issues, and students will have the opportunity to discuss their take-home essays in class before the final submission.


  • Participation 20%
  • Research Workshop Presentations 25%
  • Book Review 25%
  • Final Paper (2000-3000 words for MAs; 4000-5000 words for PhDs) 30%
  • Grading to be confirmed in class


The School expects that the grades awarded in this course will bear some reasonable relation to established university-wide practices with respect to both levels and distribution of grades.  In addition, the School will follow Policy S10.01 with respect to Academic Integrity, and Policies S10.02, S10.03 and S10.04 as regards Student Discipline.  [Note: as of May 1, 2009 the previous T10 series of policies covering Intellectual Honesty (T10.02), and Academic Discipline (T10.03) have been replaced with the new S10 series of policies.]


This is a seminar for PhD and MA students.



Braman, S. (2006). Change of State. Information, Policy and Power. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press.
ISBN: 9780262513241

Mueller, M. (2010) Networks and states: The global politics of Internet governance. Information revolution and global politics. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press.
ISBN: 9780262518574


Freedman, D. (2008). The Politics of Media Policy. Cambridge, UK. Malden, USA: Polity.
ISBN: 978-0745628424

Armstrong, R. (2016) Broadcasting Policy in Canada. Second Edition. University of Toronto Press: Toronto.
ISBN: 978-1442628236

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html