SOAS University of London

Centre for Global Media and Communications

Studies in Global Digital Cultures

Module Code:
15PMSH029
Credits:
15
FHEQ Level:
7
Taught in:
Term 1

The Internet and digital media are increasingly shaping the way we learn, work, keep in touch with each other, produce and consume all types of content; and they are changing many aspects of how society, politics, and the economy are organized. The nature of these changes, however, is still widely debated. Do they represent a dramatic break from the past, empowering new groups of people, and fundamentally changing the way we relate to each other and organize as a society, or are they a continuation, however fast and seemingly ground-breaking, of social shifts that began with Gutenberg’s printing revolution and were impelled forward by the Enlightenment? Are digital technologies, which originated mostly in the United States and Europe, bringing Western socio-technical values to other cultures, are they being adapted to local circumstances, or are they creating a truly “global digital culture”? This module provides an overview of the main theoretical debates around the impact of digital media in different arenas, and aims at understanding the nature of the changes we see around us. We begin by looking historically at the origins of the digital revolution and of the Information Society, and at how the infrastructure that supports them began and is evolving, with a particular focus on countries in the Global South. We continue by focusing on three areas that are being profoundly changed by digital technologies: politics, the economy, and culture. We explore the relationship between the State and its citizens, from the perspectives of surveillance and resistance, and the way digital media are re-shaping aspects of both production and consumption. An underlying thread of the course will be how digital technologies and the practices that are evolving around them are adapted, reconfigured, or rejected in different geographical areas.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

  • Critically engage with existing literatures on the digital environment and assess their adequacy and utility for understanding developments in the global south
  • Analyse the social, economic, political and cultural impacts of new communication technologies and their attendant digital
  • Research digital developments in a country of the global South
    Prepare basic presentations in a multimedia format and participate in a range of social media/blogging activities

Workload

The module will be taught over 10 weeks with one 1 hour lecture and one 1 hour tutorial per week

Scope and syllabus

• Why are we here
• Origins of information society
• Infrastructures and digital divides
• Digital media and state surveillance
• New forms of the digital economy
• Digital economy in the Global South
• Practices of digital cultural production
• Cultural production from the global south
• Wrap up

Method of assessment

Assignment one - Essay (1500 words); 50%
Assignment two – Reaction Papers (250-300 words) 25%
Assignment three – Digital; 25%

Disclaimer

Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules