Wilfrid Laurier University | Winter 2016
This course provides students with the theoretical building blocks to think critically about the powerful ways that information communication technologies are taken up in social, cultural and individual practices. By surveying key themes in the emerging landscape of digital and social media, this course highlights the privacy, commodification, and surveillance implications of participation in the new media political economy.
This class examines the socio-political relationship between society and computer-mediated communication technologies known as “social media,” including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and others. The purpose of this class is to break down the myths surrounding social media to develop critical understanding and analytical approaches. Social media platforms—which enable emailing, texting, sexting, googling, tweeting, and all manner of data sharing—have turned the distinction between public and private upside down. The need to put what we do online is not just something with philosophical or legal implications, but also an allegedly desirable act of branding under capitalism. The rise of neoliberal philosophies in government and consumer culture has marked a shift towards regulation of our data and the coopting of our creative output as the digital is increasingly filtered through corporately owned social media. In a period when participation is integral to culture, the creative class is being absorbed into this culture where, instead of critiquing it, they are now being enlisted to perpetuate it. You will learn how to see beyond the rhetoric and the politics to understand how we are all being programmed by neoliberal ideologies. Over the course of the semester, we will examine the tenets of neoliberalism and surveillance culture; panopticism; Web 2.0 antecedents and the history of user-generated culture; the rise of a new feudalism; Edward Snowden and the NSA; copyright and property; obfuscation; gender, gamergate and forms of public policing/shaming; filters; the public domain, and virtual slavery.
(Cross-listed as JN222 and MX222.)
Course title: Digital and Social Media: Critical Approaches, CT/JN/MX222, 200 level
Prerequisites: BF190, BF290, and CT100 or JN202 (or JN201/MX201 or CT121).
Exclusions: JN222, MX222.
Course location BR2: Brantford OD110 | Time: 7:00 pm - 9:50 pm | Day: Tuesdays