SHE Level 4
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code MHP324507
Module Leader Andrew McWhirter
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Media and Journalism
  • A (September start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Some prior knowledge of media, communication and cultural studies.

Summary of Content

-108 This module introduces students to the key concepts and ideas necessary for both a contextual understanding and sustained analysis of the digital world and in particular cyber-cultures and social media from a theoretical perspective. The beginning of the module encourages students to appreciate a fully converged and networked media world before moving onto explore the vast subjects within cybercutures, from piracy and AI to the culture of search and the right to be forgotten. Social media is then discussed from a critical perspective, paying particular attention to developments in the past ten years within certain platforms and how these can be understood in wider society and culture as well as the social media industries themselves. Case studies here include everything from Facebook to Snapchat and YouTube but also focus on non-commercial forms of social media. The module then situates online behaviours and activities in a Marxist reading of digital age environments, highlighting in particular a renewed popularity in the philosopher's ideas in the post-2008 financial crash era. The final lectures go into more detail on some earlier expressed ideas about how best to research and understand a digitally mediated society online from the perspective of media and communication studies. Students revisit long-established disciplines and research practices such as audience studies and analytical psychology and how scholarly frameworks such as these are of use to analyses of online digital cultures.


Lecture Topics (Indicative) Seminar Topic Week 1 - Introduction to the module No seminar Week 2 - Cybercultures #1 Assessed Seminar Briefing and Pairing Week 3 - Cybercultures #2 Assessed Seminar One: Phenomenology & Click Theory Week 4 - Cybercultures #3 Assessed Seminar Two: Artificial Intelligence Week 5 - Social Media #1 Assessed Seminar Three: Right to Delist/Be Forgotten Week 6 - Social Media #2 Assessed Seminar Four: Interaction versus Participation Week 7 - Social Media #3 Assessed Seminar Five: Education, Communication, Behaviour Week 8 - Digital Labour #1 Assessed Seminar Six: Marxism and Digital Media Week 9 - Digital Labour #2 Assessed Seminar Seven: Technology and Environment Week 10 Digital Labour #3 Assessed Seminar Eight: Politics and Technology Week 11 Digital Media & Audience Assessed Seminar Nine: Effects, Cultivation, Uses & Gratifications Studies Week 12 Digital Media & Analytical Case Study Briefing Psychology

Learning Outcomes

The module adheres to the learning outcomes of the BA/BA Hons Media and Communication programme across knowledge and understanding, intellectual skills, professional and practical skills and transferable/key skills. Such outcomes are themselves shaped by the QAA subject benchmark statement 'Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies: Draft for consultation April 2016'. In particular sections 2 and 3 relating to range and diversity as well as nature and scope and, in specific detail, 2.2 (informed, critical and creative approaches) and 2.3 (developing critical and creative independence, flexibility, reflexivity, across individual and group work) as well as 3.2 (a vital need for informed debate on the political, legal and ethical aspects of communication and culture that take into account theories and research within arts and humanities, social sciences and applied arts and science as well as the professional practices within the creative industries).Therefore, on successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:1 Identify and understand issues within cybercultures, social media and digital labour relevant to new and existing theoretical perspectives across disciplines2 Use a variety of analytical concepts to understand digital media and society at an advanced level in media and communication studies3 Appreciate and evaluate digital media and society in detailed contexts with reference to current and future influences on the communication industries

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The module aligns to the GCU 2015-2020 SfL, in particular 'transformative approaches to learning' via assessed seminars; 'flexible learning [85] with colleges' through paired working practices of assessment; and these both facilitates 'student engagement'. The SfL highlight of 'digital learning' maps with the content of the module itself. Teaching will take the form of one lecture and one seminar per week. Students are required to complete set reading(s) each week and/or complete tasks to feedback on in Assessed Seminars. Working with their partner in preparation for the seminar each student will answer a 'question' or offer a response to a 'position' posed by the content of the curriculum. This compliments a programme of recommended reading and private study in relation to topics covered in the module. Subsequently this builds towards the creation of an individual Case Study with a view to the production of new knowledge: to be submitted by students during the examination period.

Indicative Reading

-567 Cybercultures Boler, Megan (2007) 'Hypes, Hopes and Actualities: New Digital Cartesianism and Bodies in Cyberspace' in New Media & Society 9:1, pp 139-68. Bordewijk, Jan L. and van Kaam, Ben (1986) 'Towards a new classification of tele-information services' in Intermedia, volume. 14 no. 1 pp.16-21. Danaher, John The singularity (2014) 'The Singularity - Overview and Framework' in Institute for Ethics & Emerging Technology - Everett, Anna (2003) 'Digitextuality and Click Theory: Theses on Convergence Media in the Digital Age' in Anna Everett and John T. Caldwell (eds) (2003) New Media: Theories and Practices of Digitextuality. London and New York: Routledge pp.3-28. Fuchs, Christian (2014) Occupy Media! The Occupy movement and social media in crisis capitalism. Hants: Zero Books. Gibson, William (1984) Neuromancer. New York: Ace Books. Grusin, Richard (2010) Premediation: Affect and Mediality After 9/11. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan. Habermas, Jfcrgen (1991) The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press Hayles, Katherine N. (1999) 'What does it mean to be Posthuman?' in Hayles, Katherine N. How we became posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press. Pp283-91, 322-3. Hillis, Ken, Michael Petit and Kylie Jarrett (2012) Google and the Culture of Search. London: Routledge Hutchins, Edwin (1995) Cognition in the Wild. Cambridge: MIT Press. Jeanneney, Jean-noel (2006) Google and the Myth of Universal Knowledge: A View from Europe. University of Chicago Press. Pdf. Jordan, Tim (2002) 'Hacktivism: All Together in the Virtual' in Tim Jordan Activism! Direct Action, Hacktivism and the Future of Society (London: Reaktion Books) Manovich, Lev (2001) The Language of New Media. Cambridge: MIT Press. Meikle, Graham & Young, Sherman (2012) Media Convergence: Networked Digital Media in Everyday Life, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan Nayar, Pramod K. (2010) (ed) The New Media and Cybercultures Anthology. West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell Nayar, Pramod K. (2010b) An introduction to new media and cybercultures. West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell Schmidt, Eric and Jonathan Rosenberg (2014) How Google Works. London: John Murray. Searle, John R. (1990) 'Is the brain's mind a computer program?' Scientific American, 262, no.1: 26-31. In Searle, John R. (1986) Minds, Brains, and Science. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Pp32-41. -567 Social Media Albarran, Alan B. (2013) (ed) The Social Media Industries. London: Routledge Anderson, Benedict (1983) Imagined communities: reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism. London: Verso Article 29 Data Protection Working Party (2009), Opinion 5/2009 on Social Networking, available at, accessed 9 April 2014 Brake, David R. (2014) Sharing our lives online: risks & exposure in social media. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan. Commission of the European Communities (2007), 'Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on Promoting Data Protection by Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETS)', available at, accessed 9 April 2014 Crossley, Nick and Roberts, John Michael (eds) (2004) After Habermas: New Perspectives on the Public Sphere, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Curran, James (1991) 'Rethinking the Media as a Public Sphere' in Dahlgreen, P. and Sparks, C. (eds) Communication and Citizenship: Journalism and the Public Sphere in the New Media Age, London: Routledge, pp. 27-57 Curran, James (2000) 'Rethinking Media and Democracy' in Curran, J. and Gurevitch, M. (eds) Mass Media and Society, London: Arnold, pp.120-154 Dahlgren, Peter (2001) 'The Transformation of Democracy?' in Axford, B. and Huggins, R. (eds) (2001) New Media and Politics, London: SAGE Publications Ltd. pp. 64-88 Determann, L. (2012), 'Social Media Privacy: A Dozen Myths and Facts', Stanford Technology Law Review, 7, 1-8 Dijck, Jose9 van (2007) 'Homcasting: The end of broadcasting? Receiver 18, April 2 Dijck, Jose9 van (2013) The culture of connectivity: a critical history of social media. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Dutton, William H. and Blank, Grant (2011) Next Generation Users: The Internet in Britain, Oxford Internet Survey 2011 Report (accessed 28 June 2012) Ellison et al (2007) 'The benefits of Facebook Friends: Exploring the relationship between college students' use of online social networks and social capital' Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 12 (1) 1143-68 Ellison et al (2011) Connections strategies: social capital implications of Facebook-enabled communication practices. New Media & Society 13 (6), 873-92 European Commission (2012a), 'How will the data protection reform affect social networks?', available at, accessed 19 April 2013 European Commission (2012b), 'How does the data protection reform strengthen citizens' rights?', available at, accessed 19 April 2013 European Economic and Social Committee (2012), 'Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (General Data Protection Regulation)', available at, accessed 9 April 2014 European Commission Eurobarometer (2011), 'Special Barometer 359 - Attitudes on Data Protection and Electronic Identity in the European Union', available at, accessed 9 April 2014 European Data Protection Supervisor (2010), 'Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor on Promoting Trust in the Information Society by Fostering Data Protection and Privacy', available at, accessed 9 April 2014 Fraser, Nancy (1992) 'Rethinking the Public Sphere: A Contribution to the Critique of Actually Existing Democracy' in Craig Calhoun (ed.) Habermas and the Public Sphere, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp.109-42 Fuchs, Christian (2014) Social media: a critical introduction. London: SAGE Publications ltd Goffman, Erving (1990) The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. London: Penguin books Goldberg, Greg (2011) 'Rethinking the public/virtual sphere: The problem with participation' in New Media & Society, 13:5, pp. 739-754 Jin, Dal Yong (2013) The Construction of Platform Imperialism in the Globalization Era tripleC 11(1): 145-172, 2013 Habermas, Jfcrgen (2006) `Political Communication in Media Society - Does Democracy still enjoy an epistemic dimension? The impact of normative theory on empirical research', paper presented at the International Communication Association, ICA Annual Convention Dresden, (accessed 10 June 2010) Habermas, Jfcrgen (2009) Europe: The Faltering Project, Cambridge: Polity -567 Kotler, Philip (1986) 'THE PROSUMER MOVEMENT: A NEW CHALLENGE FOR MARKETERS' in Advances in Consumer Research, 13:1, pp.510-513 Lasorsa, Dominic L., Lewis,

Transferrable Skills

By the end of this module students should have gained competence in the following key areas: Self-confidence (Mapped to Coursework 1) Independence (Mapped to Coursework 1 and 2) Desire to go on learning (Mapped to Curriculum) Ability to reflect (Mapped to Coursework 1 and 2 and Curriculum) Time management (Mapped to Coursework 1 and 2) Researching (Mapped to Coursework 1 and 2) Ability to work in teams (Mapped to Coursework 1)

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Independent Learning (FT) 140.00
Lectures (FT) 12.00
Assessment (FT) 36.00
Seminars (FT) 12.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Individual Case Study n/a 60.00 n/a Individual Case Study of not more than 2500 words (Wk 14)
Assessed seminar n/a 40.00 n/a Assessed seminar performance (Wk 3-11) and 250 word reflection (Wk 12)