Fall 2019 - CMNS 840 G100

Political Economy of Communications (5)

Class Number: 10619

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 1:30 PM – 4:20 PM
    HCC 2250, Vancouver



A study of the political, economic and social process that produces the structure and policies of mass media, and of telecommunication agencies in their historical setting.


This course explores political economy as a key approach to the analysis of communication processes. The seminar introduces the perspective for those planning to adopt it in their research, revisits its assumptions against a changing media landscape, and renews its analysis in an era of communicative abundance, economic crisis, and new movements of resistance. Topics examined include: genealogies of political economy; media, empire and colonialism; Fordism and post-Fordism; Keynesianism, neoliberalism and crisis; the audience commodity; labour in the media and communication industries; capitalism and artificial intelligence; communication and the commons. The seminar is designed so as to enable students working at an MA or PhD level to develop an effective political-economic approach to the study of a wide range of topics in the field of communication.


  • Attendance and Participation 20%
  • Critical Reading Summaries 20%
  • Term Paper Proposal (4 pages) (Due Week 6: October 18) 15%
  • Term Paper (25 pages) (Due December 9) 45%
  • ***Please note that seminar will be held in an alternate location September 12, October 17, and November 28. More info on this to follow***


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 1 May 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.]

For further information see: www.sfu.ca/policies/Students/index.html.



Readings that are not accessible via the SFU Library’s electronic journals collection will be made available electronically.

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