Spring 2024 - CMNS 240 D100

The Political Economy of Communication (3)

Class Number: 1072

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 8 – Apr 12, 2024: Mon, 2:30–4:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 14, 2024
    Sun, 3:30–5:30 p.m.

  • 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, and 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.


  • Class Attendance 10%
  • Class Participation 10%
  • Mid-Term Exam 35%
  • Final Exam 45%


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



Course readings will be available on Canvas.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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