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Being online is banal and dangerous, trivial and profound, disembodied but visceral. Terrorists and friends are online, along with trolls and lovers, funerals and games, pornography and Proust. Billions are made online from stuff that seems free; there are mass killings and cute cats; businesses, communities, universities, countless humans and even more non-humans, all networked, all interacting with unpredictable outcomes. The subject Being Online takes a landscape view of the experience of being online in all its breadth and complexity, unpacks it, and through critical assessment draws out its implications for us as individuals, and as the new online collectives that are still emerging. Lecture topics include online friendship and intimacy, the internet and a sense of self, uber-surveillance, online-feminisms, the internet of things, death and online media, online crime, and morality and ethics online.
Students will attend one lecture per week, one tutorial per week, and will participate in one hour of online activity and interaction per week. Four optional workshops are provided through the semester for those who want to improve their practical skills in being online.
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: 17 February 2020