Transformations in Digital Cultures
Full course description
This module focuses on the impact of recent transformations of our media landscape on society, digital technology and culture. Digitalization, the process of integrating digital technologies into all areas of our lives, has produced new interfaces between society, culture and doing social research. We will discuss how the architecture of the web controls but also enables user practices. We will start with an analysis of the web, specifically search engines and social media. User and (online) communities use but also partly depend on digital technology, they make use of digital data, online networks and the specific characteristics of digital media. These often include digital natives who are growing up with an understanding that sharing (digital) data is essential of how friendships and communities are being built and maintained. The internet has facilitated and allowed for individual users and communities to create, configure and control content. At the same time users give information about the number of connections (friends), activities within the networks (status updates, likes, shares). Numbers, ranks and scores structure our online presence; they are used by us but also by observers with commercial or political interests. Can we observe technomoral changes in the ways we deal with e.g. privacy? The method introduced in this module is the qualitative interviewsocial network analysis. We will contact social network analyses and will use the software Gephi as a tool to support this method. At the same time we will critically reflect on the use of digital tools for research.
Introduction in digital cultures; introduction digital sociology; introduction to social media and user practices as e.g. net activism and hacking; introduction in problem based learning; introduction to qualitative interviewing.
Marres, N. (2017). Digital Sociology. Cambridge, UK: Pluto Press.