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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Internet, Society and Economy (PGSP11116)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaPostgrad (School of Social and Political Studies) Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionIs Internet changing sociology? How are core assumptions embedded in the received notions of interaction and situatedness challenged by electronically mediated encounters and fields such as social media sites and other upcoming Web 2.0 technologies?

Social scientists are after a general theory of all types of interaction and try to avoid what might be called "flip flop" social analysis: one form of sociology for studying the offline world and then "flip" to another for the online world. The tendency to conceive of the digital as simply and exclusively digital and the non-digital as simply and exclusively that, filters out alternative conceptualizations, thereby precluding a more complex reading of the impact of digitization on material and place-bound conditions.

The course will provide reasons why flip flop social analyses have to be avoided and an overview of the different scholarly attempts to avoid so. First, we will discuss perspectives by which when it comes to the online world no major shift of sociological framing is required. According to the proponents of this perspective, this is due either because the consequences of Internet for the social life, and for social theory, have been exaggerated or because offline interaction can be equally technologically mediated. In this case, familiar notions from the sociology of interaction such as "copresence", "increments", "reciprocation" "imitative behavior" "norms", "commitments", "obligations", "value" and "reputations" are conceived to be of use in studying online worlds.

In the second part of the course, we will review authors arguing that the assumptions that have characterized much microsociological thinking in the past are theoretically no longer adequate in a world in which interaction can also be disembedded from local spaces. In this latter case, notions that draw on microsociology have to be extended to capture global social forms. A distinction between embodied presence and response presence is introduced, together with the notion of face-to-screen situation.

Reflections will be also extended to another micro-empirical approach, known as ethnomethodology. Ethnomethodology is ┐a field of sociology that studies the resources, the practices and the procedures of common sense through which members of a culture produce and recognize objects, events and courses of action in a mutually intelligible way┐ (Heritage 1992: 588). Drawing on analysis developed in our research group on industrial analysts and global IT vendors (Pollock et al., 2007; Pollock & Williams, 2010; Campagnolo et al., 2012), I will demonstrate the relevance of an ethnomethodological approach to study online interaction. However, while ethnomethodological studies tend to equate fundamental reality with what is highly focused in a small space, our reflection is addressed to reveal how particular actors theorize, through the resources they have at hand, about extended relationships between settings.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?Yes
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Semester 2, Available to all students (SV1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  40
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Course Start Date 13/01/2014
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
1. Students can recognise, outline and evaluate key theoretical perspectives that have been developed in relation to the Internet.
Students can identify and critically engage with current technical, policy and business issues related to the Internet, using a range of recent evidence.
Students can evaluate policy and management strategies in relation to these issues, using a range of theoretical tools from technology studies and other social science disciplines.
2. Essential deepening of students' knowledge of notions of sociology of interaction and theoretical challenges deriving from electronically mediated encounters.

Critical understanding of received notions of sociology of interaction deriving from micro-sociology and ethnomethodology.
3. Master analytical tools to understand social implications of upcoming Web 2.0 technologies.
Assessment Information
Assessment will be by one long essay.
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus - week 1: introduction to the course theme. Notions of sociology of Interaction
- week 2: The compulsion of proximity;
- week 3: Cases ┐ Internet and Cinema.
- week 4: Cases ┐ Internet and the experience of music;
- week 5: Cases ┐ Facebook and Google+ on privacy settings;
- week 6: Cases ┐ The microsociological approach to global social forms;
- week 7: Cases ┐Internet & IT expertise;
- week 8: An ethnomethodological approach to global social forms?
- week 9: Cases ┐ Internet & Financial Markets;
- week 10: Conclusions on the course theme and discussion.
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Ayres, I. (2007) Super Crunchers: Why Thinking-by-Numbers Is the New Way to be Smart. Bantam Dell Publishing Group.

Boden, D. and Molotch, H. (1994). 'The compulsion to proximity', in R. Friedland and D. Boden (eds) Nowhere. Space, time and modernity. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Boden, D., Friedland, R. (1994) "Space, Time and Social Theory," Introductory chapter to Now/Here: Space, Time and Modernity, Berkeley: University of California Press, pp. 1-60.

Knorr Cetina, K.D. and Bruegger, U. (2002) 'Global Microstructures: The Virtual Societies of Financial Markets', American Journal of Sociology, 107, 4: 905-50.

Knorr Cetina, K. (2009) The Synthetic Situation: Interactionism for a Global World, Symbolic Interaction, vol. 32 (1) pp. 61-87

Goffman, E. (1952). On Cooling the Mark Out," Psychiatry, 15, 213-31.

Gofman E. (1961). Encounters; two studies in the sociology of interaction. Indianapolis, Bobbs-Merrill.

Goffman, Erving. 1963. Behavior in Public Places: Notes on the Social Organization of Gatherings, New York: Free Press.

Goffman, Erving. 1967. "On Face-Work," Interaction Ritual, New York: Pantheon Books, 5-45.

Goffman, E. (1972), "TheNeglected Situation." pp. 61-66 in Language and Social Context, edited by P. P. Giglioli. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Goffman, E. (1981) "Response Cries" pp. 78-123 in Forms of Talk. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Goffman, E. (1983), "The Interaction Order", American Sociological Review, 48:1-17.

Lev Manovich. Software Takes Command.

Nicolini, D. (2007). Stretching out and expanding work practices in time and space: The case of telemedicine. Human Relations, vol. 60 (6) pp. 889-920

Pinch, T. (2007) "Where is the Goffman of the Internet?", Annual Meeting of 4S, Montreal, October 12, 2007.

Pollock, N., Williams, R., D'Adderio, L., Grimm, C. Post Local Forms of Repair: The (Extended) Situation of Virtualised Technical Support, Forthcoming in Information & Organization.

Sassen S. (2002). Towards a Sociology of Information Technology. Current Sociology. 50(3): 365-388.
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern The course will be taught through ten two-hour lecture sessions, on Tuesdays from 4 to 5.50pm, in CMB. Seminars will start in week 5. They will take place on Tuesdays 3-3.50pm
Keywords- Internet - Society - Economy - Policy - Technology - Innovation Goverance
Course organiserDr Gian Campagnolo
Tel: (0131 6)51 4273
Course secretaryMiss Jodie Fleming
Tel: (0131 6)51 5066
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