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Digital media, moralities and cultures



19:00 – 21:50


2nd semester

Lecture venue
Lecture time
Offer semester
  • The growth of digital media is fundamentally reshaping our culture. But how can we start to analyse and understand these changes sociologically and anthropologically? This course will attempt to address this question through an examination of the issues underpinning a wide array of digital communications technologies.

    Morality provides a powerful lens through which we can understanding the social impacts of technology by examining how morality, social norms and behaviours are shaping technology use, and how technology is in turn redefining various moral frameworks in society.

    A broad range of existing theoretical standpoints for understanding digital media will be introduced. These perspectives will be critiqued and challenged through reference to existing case studies and on-going innovative research projects from different academics and practitioners. This course adopting a truly global outlook, examining case studies from around the world. We also ask how Asian perspectives and methodologies might help to contribute to academic debates.

    You will be helped to ground the theories of digital media in everyday life by undertaking your own digital media research. Guest talks from a number of academics and practitioners will also help to complement the course.

    • Describe key concepts and theories for examining digital media and its cultural impacts.

    • Explain varying utopian and dystopian prognosis regarding the potentials of digital media and discuss their implications.

    • Apply different theoretical perspectives to analyse the moral implications of digital media in different spheres of everyday life and society.

    • Cooperate in groups to plan, execute and analyse practical research exercises examining the moral dimensions of digital media.

    • Critically assess the utility of theoretical concepts for understanding the moral and ethical implications of digital media in areas such as government, law enforcement, industry and society.

  • Tasks


    Key reading presentation


    Media and morality research exercises


    End of term essay paper


  • Livingstone, S. & Sefton-Green, J. (2016) The Class: Living and Learning in the Digital Age. New York: New York University Press

    Maurer, B. (2015) How Would You Like to Pay?: How Technology Is Changing the Future of Money. Durham: Duke University Press.

    Miller et al., (2016) How the world changed social media. London: UCL Press.

  • Boellstorff, T. (2008). Coming of age in Second Life: an anthropologist explores the virtually human. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Botler, J. D., & Grusin, R. (Ed.). (1999). Remediation: Understanding new media. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

    Bruns, A. (2008). Blogs, wikipedia, second life, and beyond: From production to produsage. New York: Peter Lang.

    Ching, C. C. & Foley, B. J. (Ed.). (2012). Constructing the self in a digital world. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Fuery, K. (2008). New media: Culture and image. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Gere, C. (2002). Digital culture. London: Reaktion Books.

    Green, L. (2010). The internet: An introduction to new media. London: A&C Black Publishers Ltd.

    Horst, H. A. & Miller, D. (Eds.). (2012). Digital Anthropology. London: Berg.

    Lievrouw, L. A., & Livingstone, S. (2002). Handbook of new media: Social shaping and consequences of ICTs. London: Routledge.

    Lomborg, S. (Ed.) (2014). Social media, social genres: making sense of the ordinary. New York: Routledge.

    Manovich, L. (2001). The language of new media. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

    Negroponte, N. (1996). Being digital. New York: Knopf.

    Turkle, S. (1995). Life on the screen: Identity in the age of the internet. New York: Simon & Schuster.

    Williams, R. (2003[1975]). Television: Technology and cultural form. London: Routledge.

Associate Professor

Prof Tom McDonald
Course co-ordinator and teachers
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