Digital Media and Culture
Full course description
Students in this course will be introduced into the broad field of digital media and culture and discuss in detail computer based practices (both from the humanities and qualitative social sciences). The topics discussed range from transformations in our digital cultures based on technological developments from societal debates to user practices and ethical considerations in the context of new emerging technologies. While popular debates usually focus on general discussions on the impact of digital technologies, this course will deal with the complexity and diversity of our contemporary culture.
Over the course of the past decades digital devices have become omnipresent in our societies. Every day we type on computers, make calls with our mobile phones, log in to numerous websites and social networks. Perhaps more importantly, we are able to keep extensive, precise records of our everyday lives. From internet cookies, tracking apps to video camera surveillance feeds, along with the information users, companies and governments store in clouds, more and more data is generated and archived. In the digital age, information circulates faster and faster, sometimes without the knowledge of the parties from which the data originate. The consequences have been differently valuated. The optimistic account stresses the new media’s inherent possibilities for active cultural and social participation beyond the reach of existing political or commercial institutions. Participation is a term discussed when we follow discussions about the use of social media to support processes of democratisation.
When we investigate the use and abuse of user data and surveillance strategies both from governments and marketing institutions exploitation of users is central in the debate. We willingly help to spread information on social media, often without an awareness of the politics involved. The cultural transformations of and through digital technologies, the impact they have on their users and ways users shape digital technologies will be investigated in this course.
The aims of this course are to familiarize students with topics relevant for digital culture and society such as:
- Different uses of digital media in the fields of work and play, surveillance technologies, mental health and social media and AI and robotics.
- The relation between technological development, user practices, ethical questions, and technomoral change as e.g., netactivism and participation, gendering AI, etrash and sustainability.
- Relevant topics related to digitalization as e.g. ethics, surveillance and privacy will be discussed.
The literature is available online and via the reference list of the University Library.