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  3. Political Economy of the Network Society

Political Economy of the Network Society (MECM50001)

Graduate coursework level 5Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework Level 5
Subject codeMECM50001
Semester 1
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Since the end of the 1970s the world has undergone dramatic transformations that have in many ways deeply integrated the spheres of economy, culture, polity and society to an unprecedented degree. The world today is unrecognisable from that of the 1970s. This has been made possible largely through the development of information and communication technologies set upon a definable trajectory through identifiable political and economic choices made at critical periods. The subject will develop an understanding and approach to the network society that will be informed through a political economy perspective. Using the dynamics of neoliberal globalisation as the underlying foundation of the network society, it will show why the ICT revolution occurred when it did, and why it has taken the particular developmental trajectory that it has. Neoliberalism and the salience of market forces as the driver of the ICT revolution will be of particular interest in the development of the approach. The other critical dimension of the subject is that it will develop the political economy approach from a temporal perspective. That is to say, it will concentrate on the nature of speed (social, cultural, political and economic) that has undergone profound transformations since the late 1970s. What will be particularly important about this perspective is that students will gain insights into something they already recognise at some level of articulation, i.e. 'things speed up', but find difficulty in expressing intellectually why this is the case - and what the social, cultural, and personal consequences of speed are. Consequently an introduction to the concepts of social time - as opposed to the unreflective time of the clock - will form a critical element to the political economy perspective.

Intended learning outcomes

Students who complete this subject will:

  • develop a critical appraisal of the key transformation of this period;
  • consider the rise of the so-called 'network society', the imperatives for ts being and the effects of its continuing development across all registers of life; and
  • gain a critical perspective on the cause and possible consequences of the digital logic that has brought us the communicative forms from Twitter to Wikipedia and other emergent platforms.

Generic skills

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • be able to demonstrate competence in advanced library searches and information retrieval;
  • be able to demonstrate proficiency in the application of selected methods of media analysis; and
  • be able to demonstrate conformity to academic and professional protocols for presentation and research procedures.

Last updated: 11 July 2019