At the end of the course, students will:
• Have a clear overview of most important and well-discussed issues
regarding media use and effects from a perspective of entertainment.
• Be able to answer important questions about media entertainment that
have intrigued the public for decades in a competent and scientifically
• Be able to study the results of significant research and empirical
studies published in the domain of media entertainment
• Develop a better idea of how knowledge is generated within social
scientific research, in particular media and communication,
theoretically and methodologically.
This class will provide an overview about the most important theoretical
models and empirical findings in the field of media entertainment
research and more recent theorizing on media use from an entertainment
perspective. After a look into the history of (media) entertainment and
the sociological notion of culture, the class will focus on the
psychological underpinnings of media entertainment. We will discuss
classic topics such as Escapism, Catharsis, Identification, Cultivation,
Mood Management, Parasocial Interactions, Fandom, Horror, Humor,
Suspense, Eudaimonia, Intrinsic Needs, and Social Media, among others.
Furthermore, we will tap into related and more recently studied
questions such as: Why do people seek enjoyment from sad and “negative”
media? Why do we like “bad” characters? What makes a funny sitcom? Who
is fascinated by video games and why? How do girls and boys differ in
their preferences for entertaining media content? Is there entertainment
value in the news? What is interactive entertainment and how does it
differ from traditional media entertainment?
Each week, students will read obligatory key articles about several of
these topics. The class will consist of lectures that deal with these
articles and also provide additional information about each topic. One
focus of the class will lie on increasing students' theoretical
understanding of highlighted topics in the field of media and
entertainment, while another focus lies on the design and results of
core empirical studies that illuminate media entertainment research.
Accordingly, most lectures will discuss a selection of the best
empirical studies related to the topic of the lecture.
In addition to the reading of obligatory articles, students will share
and substantiate their opinion about what has been addressed in class
during the planned workgroup sessions, which consist of three group
presentation assignments relevant to class goals.
Lectures and workgroups.
The final grade will consist of an individual digital examination with
multiple choice and short answer questions (60%), plus group
presentations and short written assignments (40% in total). Students
must pass the exam, in addition to completing the assignments.
The obligatory literature will include published journal articles and
chapters. These will be available prior to each lecture via online
2nd year bachelor communication science, minor communication science,
and exchange students.
In this course you cannot enroll yourself for the tutorials, but you
will be assigned by the course coordinator. You will find to which
tutorial you are assigned in your personal schedule in VUnet.
Note: You do have to register for the course, with the remaining
The class will be entirely in English, including all lectures,
correspondence, assessments, and assignments. Foreign exchange students
are very welcome.