Universität Wien
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240525 SE The Materiality and Visuality of Social Media (P4) (2021S)

Continuous assessment of course work

Participation at first session is obligatory!

The lecturer can invite students to a grade-relevant discussion about partial achievements. Partial achievements that are obtained by fraud or plagiarized result in the non-evaluation of the course (entry 'X' in certificate). The plagiarism software 'Turnitin' will be used for courses with continuous assessment.


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


max. 25 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

The course will start digital. If the Covid regulations allow it, it will change to on-site or hybrid.
Information about the lecture rooms will then follow in time.

Friday 05.03. 13:15 - 16:30 Digital
Friday 19.03. 13:15 - 16:30 Digital
Friday 16.04. 13:15 - 16:30 Digital
Friday 30.04. 13:15 - 16:30 Digital
Friday 14.05. 13:15 - 16:30 Digital
Friday 28.05. 13:15 - 16:30 Digital
Friday 04.06. 13:15 - 16:30 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

This course gives a critical overview about the material and visual dimension of social media and their interconnection. In doing so, it focuses on the everyday integration and utilization of social media in a variety of sociocultural contexts.

Social media platforms and services, such as Facebook or Instagram, have become important (visual) communication and (re)presentation tools. For social and cultural anthropology it is of particular interest how these platforms are integrated and embedded into everyday life, by considering changing sociocultural, political and economic contexts.

This course focuses on the materiality and visuality of social media and how they are utilized on a day-to-day basis. Questions about the relevance of a material culture approach for (the understanding of) technology appropriation - on a theoretical and practical level - as well as questions about (culturally) different usage practices are discussed. How does the understanding and conceptualization of social media as a digital form of material and visual culture contribute to the exploration and analyses of contemporary and emerging sociocultural practices and processes in increasingly digital societies?

By working on different case studies, students get a comparative overview about material and visual culture in a digital context. The university's online learning management system Moodle is used to conduct and organize the course, to provide resources and content as well as to foster students' exchange and communication.

Assessment and permitted materials

Seminar paper (50%)
Presentation of research projects (25%)
Active participation during the course (25%)

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Course assessment comprises a paper at the end of the semester (50%), the presentation of research projects (25%) and the active participation during the course by reading and discussing selected literature (25%). All assignments have to be completed to successfully pass the course. Course attendance is mandatory.

Examination topics

See above

Reading list

Selection of Literature
(Mandatory Reading List to be communicated in first seminar session)

Eglash, R. (2006). Technology as material culture. In C. Tilley, W. Keane, S. Küchler, M. Rowlands & P. Spyer (Eds.), Handbook of material culture (pp. 329-240). London: Sage.

Favero, P. (2018). The present image: Visible stories in a digital habitat. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Fuchs, C. (2014). Social media: A critical introduction. London: Sage.

Gómez Cruz, E., Sumartojo, S., & Pink, S. (Eds.). (2017). Refiguring techniques in digital visual research. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Hjorth, L, Horst, H., Galloway, A., & Bell, G. (Eds.). (2017). The Routledge Companion to digital ethnography. New York: Routledge.

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

Miller, D., & Sinanan, J. (2017). Visualising Facebook: A comparative perspective. London: UCL Press.

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

Uimonen, P. (2015). Internet and social media: Anthropological aspects. In J. D. Wright (Ed.), International encyclopedia of the social and behavioral sciences (pp. 600-605). New York: Elsevier.

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Fr 12.05.2023 00:21