Spring 2022 - CMNS 240 D100

The Political Economy of Communication (3)

Class Number: 2945

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 12:30 PM – 2:20 PM
    AQ 3005, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    Nine CMNS units with a minimum grade of C-.



Examination of the political and economic processes that have generated the policies and structures of mass media, telecommunications and related industries; the relationship between the dichotomies of state and market, citizen and consumer, capitalism and democracy, global and local, and sovereignty and globalization in media industries and policies; overview of influences on State and international policies towards the media.


This course will introduce the scholarship of political economy and how the framework can be applied to the study of media, communication industries, and cultural production. Some of the fundamental questions we will address are: How to understand the relationship between media and information technologies and capitalism and neoliberal globalization? What have been the political-economic and socio-cultural implications and consequences of the current digitalization and platformization? Students will be introduced to key concepts, including political economy, digital capitalism, audience commodity, feminist political economy, sharing economy, gig economy, outsourcing, precarious labor, among others. The course is focused on broad social-historical processes and macro-structural issues. It also relates political economic analysis to our daily experiences and our roles as consumers and citizens in a media and commodity-saturated capitalist society.


Students will develop a critical understanding of the mutually constitutive relationship between media systems and capitalist development. 


  • Class Participation & Attendance 20%
  • Mid-Term Test 25%
  • Essay 30%
  • Final Test 25%



All the readings will be available via Canvas.

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


Teaching at SFU in spring 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the spring 2022 term.