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The Internet is now a familiar part of everyday life. But what exactly is the Internet? What is it used for and how is it implicated in the transformation of society, culture, community and our daily lives? This subject examines these and other critical questions in exploring the complex interplay between the technical and social dimensions of the Internet. Among the topics we cover here are the emergence of new forms of media culture, art, and commerce online; the nature and limitations of social media and its implications for personal identity and intimacy; "dark" uses of the Internet - such as for surveillance and criminal activity; and other interesting personal, ethical, and political issues which arise through activity on the Internet. Lectures, tutorials and student Blogs will equip students with the knowledge needed to critically appraise the interrelations between the Internet and society, and optional practical sessions will be used to build basic technical skills.
Intended learning outcomes
On successful completion of this subject students should:
- Possess a critical understanding of the Internet as more than a technical phenomenon, but as a socially transformative and disruptive phenomenon;
- Be able to provide a multi-disciplinary account of the interplay between technical and social phenomena;
- Understand the broader ethical, social and legal implications of the Internet;
- Appreciate the open questions that remain in relation to, and conflicting theoretical accounts of, widespread Internet adoption and use;
- Experience participation in an online community.
Last updated: 1 June 2020