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DEGREE REGULATIONS & PROGRAMMES OF STUDY 2022/2023

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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Science, Technology and Innovation Studies

Undergraduate Course: The Internet and Society (STIS10001)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryInternet technologies play 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, in particular, 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, 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.

The classes will consist of a combination of lectures, group discussions and debates, in class and home work with data and evidence, presentations, and on-line work. Students will be expected to read and summarise set papers online before each class, and prepare personal exercises for use in group activities.
Course description Internet technologies play 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, in particular, 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, 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.

The classes will consist of a combination of lectures, group discussions and debates, in class and home work with data and evidence, presentations, and on-line work. Students will be expected to read and summarise set papers online before each class, and prepare personal exercises for use in group activities.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesNone
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2022/23, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  100
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
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 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Short paper (25%) and long essay (75%)
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
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 information and communication technologies.
  2. Be able to distinguish between different theoretical and methodological approaches for studying information and communication technologies and their epistemological assumptions.
  3. Be able to critically engage with key questions about the social dimensions of information and communication technologies in a nuanced manner.
  4. Be able to apply complex concepts and critical thinking to key issues relating to the regulation and governance of societies of deeply mediated by information and communication technologies.
  5. 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 information and communication technologies.
Reading List
None
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Contacts
Course organiserDr James Stewart
Tel: (0131 6)50 6392
Email: J.K.Stewart@ed.ac.uk
Course secretaryMr Daniel Jackson
Tel: (0131 6)50 8253
Email: Daniel.Jackson@ed.ac.uk
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