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COM3100 - The public sphere

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader(s): Brett Hutchins


Berwick Second semester 2009 (Day)
Caulfield Second semester 2009 (Day)
Clayton Second semester 2009 (Day)


This unit introduces a key theoretical concept in the field of media and communications studies, the public sphere. It tracks the emergence of the theory of the public sphere, analyses the multiple uses and related applications of the concept, and explains how the public sphere relates to traditional and new communications and media environments. Attention is given to the changing character of the public sphere over time, and the advent of a so-called 'postmodern public sphere' during the past twenty years.


Students successfully completing this unit will be able to:

  1. Outline the emergence and historical development of the public sphere.

  1. Analyse and understand the role of the media industries in public life and communication, especially how these industries mediate politics in both formal and informal contexts.

  1. Nominate and explain contemporary media developments and issues that structure, inform and reflect the condition of the public sphere.

  1. Display written and verbal evidence of knowledge and critical thinking skills in relation to the theory of the public sphere, as well as related concepts and issues.

  1. Demonstrate a capacity for extended theoretical and substantive analysis through thorough engagement with essay topics.


Essay (2050 Words): 50%;

Exam (2 hours, 2000 Words): 40%;

Seminar Participation and Attendance 10%

Contact hours

One hour lecture and one hour tutoria


An approved first-year sequence



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