Universität Wien
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240533 SE Digital Visuality and Popular Culture (P4) (2023S)

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

If possible, the course is to be conducted in presence. Due to the respective applicable distance regulations and other measures, adjustments may be made.

  • Tuesday 07.03. 15:00 - 18:15 Hörsaal C, NIG 4. Stock
  • Tuesday 28.03. 15:00 - 18:15 Hörsaal C, NIG 4. Stock
  • Tuesday 18.04. 15:00 - 18:15 Hörsaal C, NIG 4. Stock
  • Tuesday 02.05. 15:00 - 18:15 Hörsaal C, NIG 4. Stock
  • Tuesday 16.05. 15:00 - 18:15 Hörsaal C, NIG 4. Stock
  • Tuesday 13.06. 15:00 - 18:15 Hörsaal C, NIG 4. Stock
  • Tuesday 27.06. 15:00 - 18:15 Hörsaal C, NIG 4. Stock


Aims, contents and method of the course

This course provides an overview about digital visuality as a key phenomenon of contemporary visual culture and its connection to popular culture. By working on ethnographic research projects, students explore the diversity of digital practices, their visual dimension and their meaning for popular cultural processes and phenomena.

With the advent of digital media and technologies, internet-based devices and services, mobile computing as well as software applications and social media platforms new opportunities and challenges have come to the forefront in the anthropological research of visual culture. Digital media technologies have become ubiquitous means of visual communication, interaction and representation. For anthropology it is of particular interest how people engage with digital media technologies and content, how “the digital” is embedded in everyday life and how it relates to different sociocultural phenomena.

One of these phenomena is popular culture: processes and practices related to the production, circulation and consumption of, for example, music, film, fashion and advertisements as well as the construction and mediation of celebrities. Moreover, popular culture is closely connected to other cultural phenomena such as fan culture, public culture and participatory culture. Fans, for instance, engage in various forms of visual productivity and play a crucial role in the creation and circulation of cultural artifacts related to their fandom such as memes.

By working on different case studies, students get a comparative overview about digital visuality and visual aspects of popular culture. Students conduct ethnographic projects and engage with key questions. What theoretical concepts and analytical categories of sociality can be used to study visual and popular culture? How does digital visuality constitute and mediate cultural performances and rituals? How do social media platforms enable and change visual culture and communication? The university's online learning management system is used to provide resources and content as well as to foster student's exchange and communication beyond the classroom.

Assessment and permitted materials

Course assessment comprises a paper at the end of the semester (50%), the presentation of research projects (20%) and the active participation during the course (30%), e.g. by reading and discussing selected literature.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

All assignments have to be completed to successfully pass the course. Course attendance is mandatory.
90% - 100 % Sehr gut (1, Excellent)
80% - 89,9 % Gut (2, Good)
66% - 79,9 % Befriedigend (3, Satisfactory)
50% - 65,9 % Genügend (4, Sufficient)
< 50 % Nicht genügend (5, Insufficient)

Examination topics

See above. Details to be communicated in 1st seminar session.

Reading list

Selected Literature

• Appadurai, A., & Breckenridge, C. (1988). Why public culture? Public Culture, 1(1), 5-9.
• Costa, E., et al. (Eds.). (2022). The Routledge companion to media anthropology. London: Routledge.
• Favero, P. (2018). The present image: Visible stories in a digital habitat. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
• Gómez Cruz, E., et al. (Eds.). (2017). Refiguring techniques in digital visual research. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
• Hjorth, L., & Pink, S. (2014). New visualities and the digital wayfarer: Reconceptualizing camera phone photography and locative media. Mobile Media & Communication, 2(1), 40-57.
• Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence culture. New York: New York University Press.
• Miller, D., & Sinanan, J. (2017). Visualising Facebook: A comparative perspective. London: UCL Press.

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Tu 07.03.2023 13:08