Sociology of New Media


This course is aimed introducing students to macro-sociological concepts to understand the role of new media and online networking in the contemporary world. (In PART I) we draw from sociological perspectives that move beyond 'Technological Determinism' and shed light on the social and real-world implications of IT-driven media and communications.
We begin with a survey of key concepts, including the theories of networks by Barry Wellman (2012), Manuel Castells (1996) and others who conceptualized the rise of 'new' media and online communications as as central to ongoing social change. (In Part II) We consider a series of thematic areas and evaluate these theories in the context of contemporary societies. These themes range from the rising inequality and digital divide, to the role of new media in politics and power and also in the related fields of journalism and law. In terms of pedagogical approach, and evaluating criteria, our course will rely on active learning that requires all students to participate and engage with online communities as well as reflect on the key concepts through their own experience as social media users in India.

  1. Introduce students to macro-level sociological theories and acquaint them with concepts in new media and society
  2. Students can independently and critically question assumptions in technological deterministic claims
  3. Students will explore concepts that explain the role new media plays in various realms of social structures economic, community and social capital.
  4. Students will be able to independently and critically research projects
  5. Students will be able to respond and reflect critically on their own practices as new media and social networking developers.

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