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

Postgraduate Course: Issues and Concepts in Digital Society (PGSP11466)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis postgraduate seminar is a core course, taught in conjunction with Researching Digital Life. The course will explore the rise of digital and mobile technologies and their effects on macro-level social institutions, as well as on everyday social life. This core course provides an introduction to the key concepts and debates in the field of digital sociology.
Course description This course is designed for students who may or may not have a background in in the Sociology of Technology, Internet Studies or Media Studies and is intended to serve as a foundational introduction to the sociological study of digital technology and its effects on social life and cultural developments. The course will introduce students to key texts in the field of Digital Sociology, as well as classic texts in technology studies, cultural studies, and internet research. The course will examine claims that we now live in a 'networked society', an 'information society' or a 'digital age' and will explore the ways in which our social spaces, relationships and activities are mediated by and through digital technologies. Particular attention will be paid to the social, economic, and political conditions that give rise to digital technologies and data infrastructures.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  60
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial 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) All students will be assessed by the following:

1. Short Essay: (1,000 words) This essays will require students to review, define, and apply a theoretical concept, such as network, assemblage, or presumption to everyday life. Essays will be individually marked and feedback will be provided. Your individually written essay will count for 40% of your course grade.

2. The second assignment for the course is as follows: Over the course of the class, you will write five blog posts (around 500-600 words each) on you own Wordpress blog. This blog will be housed as part of the Issues and Concepts course blog and training will be provided. Students are encouraged to read and comment on one another's blog posts. At the end of the course these blog posts will be marked by the Course Organiser and feedback will be provided. Good blog models will be provided and prompts will be provided for these blog post. Wordpress training will be provided outside of class. The blog posts will count for 60% of your course grade.
Feedback Students will received detailed feedback on their essays, as well as feedback from the dissertation supervisor.

No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Construct a sociologically informed argument, demonstrating knowledge of the main terminology, theoretical perspectives, and empirical evidence.
  2. Demonstrate sociological understanding of the relationship between the emergence of digital technologies/digital media and large-scale economic and political forces.
  3. Discuss social processes underpinning technological shifts.
  4. Demonstrate sociological understanding of the effects of digitization/datafication for individuals and notions of selfhood.
  5. Set their own sociological research agenda in relation to the study of Digital Society.
Reading List
Angus Bancroft and Peter Scott Reid (2015) 'Concepts of illicit drug quality among darknet market users: Purity, embodied experience, craft and chemical knowledge', International Journal of Drug Policy, early online,
Beer, D. (2009) Power through the algorithm? Participatory web cultures and the technological unconscious. New Media & Society, 11(6), 985-1002.
Brown, S. (2015) Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness. Chapel Hill, NC: Duke University Press.
Brown, W. (2015) Undoing the Demos: Neolibearlism's Stealth Revolution. Zone Books
Castells, M. (2009) The Rise of the Network Society: The Information Age: Economy, Society, and Culture Volume I. 2nd Edition London, Wiley-Blackwell
Castells, M. (2009) The Power of Identity: The Information Age: Economy, Society, and Culture Volume II. 2nd Edition London, Wiley-Blackwell
Clough, P., Gregory, K. Haber, B. and Scannell, J. 2015. 'The Datalogical Turn' in In Nonrepresentational Methodologies: Re-Envisioning Research, ed. Phillip Vannini. Oxford: Taylor & Francis.
Cohen, J. (2012). Configuring the Networked Self: Law, Code, and the Play of Everyday Practice. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Daniels, J., Gregory, K., and McMillan Cottom, T. 2016. Digital Sociologies. Bristol: Policy Press.
Franklin, Seb. Control: Digitality as Cultural Logic. Cambridge: MIT Press.
Fuller, M. and Goffey, A. Evil Media. Cambridge: MIT Press.
Gillespie, T. (2013). The relevance of algorithms. in Media Technologies, ed. Tarleton Gillespie, Pablo Boczkowski, and Kirsten Foot. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Gitelman, L. (2013). 'Raw data' is an oxymoron. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Golumbia, D. (2009). The Cultural Logic of Computation. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Haraway, D. (1991). Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. New York: Routledge.
Highfield, T. (2016). Social Media and Everyday Politics. London: Polity Press.
Kitchin, Rob (2014). The Data Revolution: Big Data, Open Data, Data Infrastructures and Their Consequences. London: Sage Publications
Knox, Jeremy. Posthumanism and the Massive Open Online Course: Contaminating the Subject of Global Education. New York: Routledge.
Latour, B. Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
44. Lupton, D (2014). Digital Sociology. London: Taylor and Francis.
45. Mackenzie, D. 2015. 'Dark Markets' London Review of Books.
46. O'Reilly, T. (2011). Government as Platform:
47. Orton-Johnson, K. & Prior, N. (2013). Digital Sociology: Critical Perspectives. Palgrave Macmillan.
Parrika, J. (2015). A Geology of Media. Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press.
Pasquale, F. (2014). Black Box Society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Sassen, S. (2014). Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Scholz, T. (2012) Digital Labor: The Internet as Playground and Factory. New York: Routledge.
Shaviro, S. (2003). Connected: Or what it means to live in the network society. Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press.
Ritzer, G., & Jurgenson, N. (2010). Production, Consumption, Prosumption. Journal of Consumer Culture, 10(1), 13-36.
Wiener, N. (1988). The human use of human beings: cybemetics and society. New York; London: Da Capo.
Turner, F. (2006). From counterculture to cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the rise of digital utopianism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Wacjman, J. 1991. Feminism Confronts Technology. Penn State Press
Wark, M. (1996). Virtual Geography: Living with Global Media Events.
Wellman, BS, Gulia M. (1996) Net surfers don┬┐t ride alone: virtual communities as communities. In Communities in Cyberspace, ed. Marc Smith and Peter Kollock. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Wiener, N. (1988) The human use of human beings: cybemetics and society. New York; London: Da Capo.

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will gain directly transferrable research, writing, and communication skills. They will also gain the ability to work in interdisciplinary setting and to work in groups. They will gain experience in a range of digital platforms, such as Wordpress, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc, experience that is directly transferable to employment in social media analysis, marketing, digital research, and platform design.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Chris Barrie
Course secretaryMs Emilia Czatkowska
Tel: (0131 6)51 3244
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