Universität Wien FIND

Return to Vienna for the summer semester of 2022. We are planning to hold courses mainly on site to enable the personal exchange between you, your teachers and fellow students. We have labelled digital and mixed courses in u:find accordingly.

Due to COVID-19, there might be changes at short notice (e.g. individual classes in a digital format). Obtain information about the current status on u:find and check your e-mails regularly.

Please read the information on https://studieren.univie.ac.at/en/info.

230165 SE Search, share, shop. Critically examining the internet as technology, medium and social practice (2013W)

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 23 - Soziologie
Continuous assessment of course work

Registration/Deregistration

Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).

Details

max. 25 participants
Language: English

Lecturers

Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Wednesday 09.10. 09:15 - 11:15 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien (Kickoff Class)
Wednesday 16.10. 09:15 - 11:15 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Wednesday 23.10. 09:15 - 11:15 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Wednesday 30.10. 09:15 - 11:15 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Wednesday 13.11. 09:15 - 11:15 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Wednesday 20.11. 09:15 - 11:15 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Wednesday 27.11. 09:15 - 11:15 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Wednesday 04.12. 08:45 - 11:45 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Wednesday 11.12. 08:45 - 11:45 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Wednesday 18.12. 09:15 - 11:15 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien

Information

Aims, contents and method of the course

The internet has often been described in utopian or dystopian terms if we think of the Twitter revolution in the Arab Spring or the narrative of Google making us stupid. Both of these blunt examples illustrate techno-deterministic viewpoints that often accompany the internet in public and academic discourses. This seminar aims to challenge these viewpoints by conceptualizing search tools, social media and wikis not as external to society, but rather as enacted in society and hence mirroring social, political and economic values and ideas. 'Technology is society made durable' as Bruno Latour put it straightforwardly. At the same time, however, Google, Facebook and co. also materialize and hence solidify societal values, politics and ideologies. They may be seen as shaped by society, while at the same time shaping society.

The task of this seminar is to critically examine the web as technology, medium and social practice. Using literature and analytical concepts from STS and critical new media studies we will address the following questions: What values, politics and ideologies do technological tools like the PageRank algorithm embody and how do they get inscribed in their technical Gestalt? In what ways may search tools and social media be seen as 'acting' in terms of shaping user practices? How do Wikileaks and Twitter challenge classical politics and what are the features of the arising 'networked news ecology'? How do open access, Wikipedia and social networks like Academia.edu affect and transform practices of knowledge production and dissemination? What are the business models of Google, Facebook and Amazon, how do users contribute to the 'like economy', and what consequences does this trigger in regard to the exploitation of digital labor and user data? And, finally, what classical and new methods may be used to study digital phenomena of all sorts?

Assessment and permitted materials

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Examination topics

To answer the above mentioned questions theoretical discussions will be mixed with empirical work, which will lead to a small research project each student will conduct in the seminar paper.

Reading list


Association in the course directory

Last modified: Mo 07.09.2020 15:39