Network Society: Theories & Practices

Gregory Paschalidis

DIM 108 Network Society: Theories & Practices


About This Course

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.


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


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