Students go to The Wire for course
It inspires devotion in its fans, is hailed as addictive viewing - and now television drama The Wire is to become the subject of a British university course.
The American cop show will be studied at the University of York from this autumn as part of its sociology degree.
The 10-week module, thought to be the first of its kind in the UK, will be offered to all final year students.
Titled The Wire as Social Science Fiction?, it will use the HBO series to look at topics including class, race, political process and the city.
The lecturer behind the course believes the popular show could challenge traditional methods of teaching and presenting social science.
Professor Roger Burrows, head of sociology at the university, said: "We look at The Wire as a form of entertainment that does the job some of the social sciences have been failing to do.
"It's a contrast to dry, dull, hugely expensive studies that people carry out on the same issues.
"We spend an enormous amount of our time trying to craft books and articles that are read by so few people and it could challenge how we represent the work that we do in the academe."
But one academic who spoke at the Leeds conference on The Wire warned that TV dramas do not necessarily give students a direct insight into social issues.
Professor Griselda Pollock, director of the Centre for Cultural Analysis, Theory and History at the University of Leeds, said: "It's not raw material. There's a risk of seeing it as giving unmediated access to some of the social issues."