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Network Society: Theories & Practices | DIM108

Instructor: Gregory Paschalidis
Course Description

The  2nd Media Age is characterized by the decline of mass media and the rise of social or connective or spreadable media. We no longer talk of a m’mass society’ or even an ‘information society, but of a ‘network society’. Networks have become the nervous system of our society, a vast new communication infrastructure whose design and potential are transforming all aspects of social life, from the drastic redistribution of power and knowledge to the radical refashioning of socio-economic action, cultural interaction and inter-personal relations. Τhe course focuses on the historical and critical analysis of the emergence of social media, and employs a wide range of case-studies and ethnographic material to investigate how the connectivity culture of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the many other platforms of the social media ecosystem is producing a new anthropological condition.

 

Course Objectives

  • Understand the core concepts and theories of network society and social media
  • Explore the technical, social, economic and cultural aspects and potential of social media
  • Awareness of the features and dimensions of connectivity culture as an ongoing techno-social construction
  • Appreciation of the anthropological transformation produced by the social media ecosystem

 

Learning Outcomes

  1. Define the core concepts and theories of network society and social media
  2. Explain the transformative social dynamics and potential of social media
  3. Identify the techno-social nexus underlying connectivity culture
  4. Critically analyze contemporary sociality/subjectivity as produced by the social media ecosystem

 

Class/Learning activities

Lectures, in-class presentations, independent study, written assignments.

 

Workload

Type of work
Description
Hours
Lectures Thirteen 3-hours lectures 39
Independent study Study of class materials and readings 50-60
Readings presentation Presenting & leading a discussion on a given topic 25-30
In-class presentation Conference type presentation of final paper 15-20
Final paper Research essay (5.000 words) 110-120
Total workload 239-269

 

Assessment

Type of assessment
Learning outcome
Impact on final grade
Date of assessment
Participation in group discussion 1-3 10% On a regular basis
Reading presentation 1-2 20% On a regular basis
Presentation 1-4 10% 13th week
Written assignment (final paper) 2-4 60% 14th week

 

Required Reading

Castells, M. (2009). The Rise of the Network Society: The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture, vol.I. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2nd ed.

Kadushin, Ch. (2012). Understanding Social Networks. Theories, Concepts, and Findings. Oxford University Press

Serres, M. (2014). Thumbelina: The Culture and Technology of Millenials. Rowan & Littlefield

Van Dijck, J. (2013). The Culture of Connectivity. A Critical History of Social Media. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Van Dijck, J. (2012). The Network Society: Social Aspects of New Media. London: Sage, 3nd ed.

 

Suggested Reading

Castells, M. (2011). Communication Power. Oxford University Press, 2nd ed.

Castells, M. (2012). Networks of Outrage and Hope: Social Movements in the Internet Age. Oxford: Polity

Christakis, N. & J. Fowler (2009). Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How they Shape Our Lives. New York: Little, Brown and Company

Galloway, A. & E. Thacker (2007). The Exploit: A Theory of Networks. University of  Minnesota Press

Jenkins, H., S. Ford & J. Green (2013). Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture. New York & London: New Uork University Press

Levy, P. (1999). Collective Intelligence: Mankind’s Emerging World in Cyberspace. New York: Basic Books

Lovink, G. (2011). Networks Without a Cause: A Critique of Social Media. Oxford: Polity

Papacharissi, Z. (ed.) (2011). A Networked Self. Identity, Community, and Culture on Social Network Sites. London: Routledge

Terranova, T. (2004). Network Culture: Politics for the Information Age. London: Pluto Press
 
 

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