Study abroad in Edinburgh

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Semester 1

The Internet and Society (STIS10001)

Subject

Science, Technology and Innovation Studies

College

CAHSS

Credits

20

Normal Year Taken

3

Delivery Session Year

2022/2023

Pre-requisites

Visiting students must have passed at least 2 social science courses (i.e. Sociology, Politics/International Relations, Social Policy, Public Policy, Social Anthropology, Gender Studies, Women's Studies, Queer Studies, African Studies, American Studies) at grade B or above. We will only consider University/College level courses. Please note that spaces on Science Technology & Innovation Studies (STIS) 3rd year courses are limited so enrolment cannot be guaranteed.

Course Summary

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.

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.

Assessment Information

Written Exam 0%, Coursework 100%, Practical Exam 0%

view the timetable and further details for this course

Disclaimer

All course information obtained from this visiting student course finder should be regarded as provisional. We cannot guarantee that places will be available for any particular course. For more information, please see the visiting student disclaimer:

Visiting student disclaimer