School of Social and Political Science

Internet and Society


The Internet, a modern cultural, economic, political and technological phenomenon, plays an important, often controversial, role in contemporary society, touching almost every aspect of our lives.

Many dramatic dystopian and utopian claims are being made about the sociotechnical transformations prompted by the Internet’s widespread adoption, at micro and macro levels.

This course will investigate these claims across different areas of life, technologies and practices, and provide you with tools and conceptual frameworks to analyse and understand the role of the Internet in Society and tackle many contemporary social and political challenges.

You will use empirical case studies, theoretical and methodological texts, and student generated primary research material. We will draw on the multidisciplinary area of research referred to as science and technology studies (STS), and insights from sociology, geography, anthropology, philosophy, history, media and communications, and politics.

You will gain skills using ethnographic data, survey data, national statistics, and basic knowledge of key technical issues that impact our lives. The course will use extensive group discussions, online tools, mini-projects, and student led sessions to complement traditional lectures and reading.

Themes include:

  • Privacy and Surveillance
  • Identity, culture and social relationships in the era of social networking
  • Social Exclusion, inequality and digital inclusion policy
  • Democracy, totalitarianism, and new social movements
  • Globalisation and development
  • Network and Information theories of society
  • Digital Controversies and the power of Algorithms
  • To familiarise students with key work from Sociology, Science & Technology Studies (STS), and Internet Studies relating to the interrelationship between society and communications, information and computational technologies.
  • To provide students with an in-depth understanding of the history, theoretical foundations and practical implications of social studies of information and communications technologies.
  • To enable students to apply key conceptual frameworks and sociological thinking to tackling contemporary issues, policy and practice pertaining to the computer-mediated society.

This is a level 10 course with 20 credits

There will be 1 two-hour class per week in Semester 1