Fall 2021 - CMNS 840 G100

Political Economy of Communications (5)

Class Number: 6677

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 4:30 PM – 7:20 PM
    SSCK 8652, Burnaby



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 critically examining media and communication systems, industries, and practices in varied national and transnational contexts. The seminar introduces students to the intellectual history and contemporary application of political economy in communication in an era of changing media landscapes, political and economic crises, and newly developed resistant movements. Topics include varieties of political economy; Keynesianism and neoliberalism; digital capitalism; audience commodity and digital labor; gender, race, and media industries; gig economy and platform capitalism; transcultural political economy; communicative resistance and the common. The seminar is designed to enable students working at an MA and Ph.D. level to understand and examine power contestations among actors from the state, market, and civil society through the lens of the political economy of media and communication.  


  • Achieve a command of classic and contemporary literature in Political Economy of Communication
  • Understand the relationship between media and capitalist developments
  • Analyze media systems, industries, and practices in various contexts
  • Explore alternative modes of media and cultural production and activist and resistant mediated practices


  • Participation in seminar discussions 15%
  • Presentation 15%
  • Term Paper Proposal (4-6 pages) and presentation 20%
  • Term Paper (MA: 15-20 pages; PhD: 20-25 pages) & presentation (April 8th) 50%

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


Teaching at SFU in fall 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods 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 fall 2021 term.