Postgraduate Course: Internet, Society and Economy (PGSP11116)
|School||School of Social and Political Science
||College||College of Humanities and Social Science
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||The internet plays an important, often controversial, role in contemporary society, touching almost every aspect of our lives. Many dramatic, both dystopian and utopian, claims have been made about the transformative effects of these technologies. This course will investigate these claims across different areas of life, technologies and practices. It will treat the internet not as one monolithic entity, but as a collection of at times disparate technologies, platforms, practices and discourses that are co-evolving with rather than impacting on society. The course will cover key themes, historical and contemporary, that have informed and challenged our understanding and assumptions about the interaction between the internet and society. This will include, but will not be limited to: identity and subjectivity, social exclusion and inequality, politics and democracy, globalisation and development, privacy and surveillance.
The course will focus on specific empirical case studies and technologies as well as theoretical and methodological questions on how to best study and conceptualise the role of internet technologies in society. We will draw on the multidisciplinary area of research referred to as science and technology studies (STS), but, where relevant, will complement this with research in sociology, geography, anthropology, philosophy, history, media and communications, design, informatics and politics. At the end of the course students will not only be familiar with the social study of the internet, but will also be able to apply key conceptual frameworks and sociological thinking to tackling contemporary issues, policy and practice pertaining to information and communication technologies (ICT) and digital media more broadly.
No specialist technical knowledge is required other than students' personal experience of computers, internet, and mobile phone use.
You will work with various types of primary data, including self reflection, and be expect to share summaries of papers on Learn , and work in groups to produce short videos and presentations on contemporary issues in internet and society,
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
1. Understand the historical context and theoretical underpinnings of a wide range of social science research focused on digital technologies.
2. Be able to critically engage with different theoretical and methodological approaches for studying digital technologies and their epistemological assumptions.
3. Be able to apply complex concepts and critical thinking from different disciplinary perspectives in order to tackle contemporary social issues relating to digital technologies
4. Be able to interpret, evaluate, and use a wide range of different types of data, empirical material and arguments relating to the social dynamics of digital technologies.
5. Be able to communicate complex ideas pertaining to the social dimensions of digital technologies.
- 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.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 20,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||Assessment will be by one long essay.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Understand the historical context and theoretical underpinnings of a wide range of social science research focused on digital technologies.
- Be able to critically engage with different theoretical and methodological approaches for studying digital technologies and their epistemological assumptions.
- Be able to apply complex concepts and critical thinking from different disciplinary perspectives in order to tackle contemporary social issues relating to digital technologies
- Be able to interpret, evaluate, and use a wide range of different types of data, empirical material and arguments relating to the social dynamics of digital technologies.
- Be able to communicate complex ideas pertaining to the social dimensions of digital technologies.
|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. http://lab.softwarestudies.com/2008/11/softbook.html
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.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Keywords||- Internet - Society - Economy - Policy - Technology - Innovation Goverance
|Course organiser||Dr James Stewart
Tel: (0131 6)50 6392
|Course secretary||Miss Kate Ferguson
Tel: (0131 6)51 5122