Faculty of Arts


Advertising and Society


Often dubbed the "art of capitalism", advertising has become one of the most profound and pervasive influences on our culture. It is a zone where art and commerce meet: where emotional appeals to self and spirit encounter the forces of economic rationalism. An informed perspective on advertising is therefore crucial to an understanding of the workings of contemporary culture.

"Advertising and Society" pursues a critical examination of advertising, exploring its effects on our notions of society and self within the context of larger economic, social, political and global shifts. Beginning with an overview of the development of advertising, the course will introduce a methodological framework for understanding how advertisements create meaning, and then go on to examine how such meanings interact with, and impact upon, the culture at large.

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the historical development of advertising and its place within commodity culture
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the key critical debates regarding advertising’s significance as a commercial tool and a cultural form
  • Analyse formal devices and signifying practices used by print, television and online advertisements
  • Critically assess the way that advertisements participate in discourses of nation, gender, race and class


Coursework + exam

Availability 2020

Semester 2


Lecturer(s) Dr Jennifer Kirby


COMMS 104: 15.0 points


FTVMS 110, 110G

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