SOCIO303-21A (NET)

Technologies, Algorithms and Social Life

15 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
School of Social Sciences
Sociology and Social Policy

Staff

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Convenor(s)

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: rachel.gosnell-maddock@waikato.ac.nz

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Paper Description

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The purpose of the paper is to develop a sociological analysis of the causes and impacts of new technologies, including the Internet of Things, as well as the increasing role of algorithms and other non-human actors in decision-making. The paper will address a range of issues including the blurring of virtual and real words, the role of telepresence in everyday life, and the 'military industrial surveillance complex' (Fuchs, 2017).

The most significant theorists we discuss include Marshall McLuhan on 'the message is the medium', Shoshona Zuboff on 'the age of surveillance' and Christian Fuchs on a Marxist accounting of digital capitalism.

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Paper Structure

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This is a NET paper.

All the course materials are available online or will be uploaded during the course. This is also a flipped paper - this means that my expectation is that you will have read the material I have supplied and be prepared to ask questions in our timetabled meetings (via Zoom).

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the paper should be able to:

  • Display Understanding:

    Understand key sociological perspectives relating to new forms of social relations facilitated by the rise of the Web 2.0 internet, the ‘Internet of things’ and the increasing role of algorithms.

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  • Engage in Analysis:

    Appreciate and analyse how these new technologies, including forms of non-human agency, impact on decision-making in their lifeworld.

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  • Provide a Critique:

    Develop a critical understanding of power relations, class, gender and race inequalities, collective/group experiences and social institutions in terms of the Internet of things.

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  • Discuss the topic:

    Discuss the retrospect and prospect of sociological analysis around the socio-technical assemblages typically labelled the Internet.

    Linked to the following assessments:
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Assessment

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The assessment for this paper is 4 short essays. It is a good idea to read them at the very start of the paper.

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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Essay 1
29 Mar 2021
4:00 PM
25
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
2. Essay 2
23 Apr 2021
4:00 PM
25
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. Essay 3
17 May 2021
4:00 PM
25
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
4. Essay 4
4 Jun 2021
4:00 PM
25
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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All of the readings, urls and clips shown in the Schedule are required. There are also a number of larger clips on Panopto that are also required. Further, I will provide weekly overviews that are most definitely required reading. As noted this is a flipped teaching course; I will expect you to ask questions at our weekly Lecture (Wednesday 11am - 1pm).

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Recommended Readings

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The lecture material I provide is drawn from a number of sources. This includes extracted material from Curtis, B. and Curtis, C. (2011). Social Research: A Practical Introduction, Sage, London. The University has this as an ebook if your are interested. Go to:

http://methods.sagepub.com.ezproxy.waikato.ac.nz/book/social-research-a-practical-introduction

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Online Support

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Moodle will be used throughout the course.

If a notice is sent out via Moodle, it is assumed you will have received it. If material is placed on Moodle, it is assumed you have access to it. If, for any reason, you are unable to access Moodle, please advise Bruce Curtis.

Students are expected to utilize the material available on Moodle, but must also undertake the independent research to locate further appropriate material for assessments and other aspects of the paper. Reading a range of academic material relevant to the topic is crucial to adequately complete any assignment.

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Workload

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This paper is worth 15 points. That implies that students will devote a minimum of 150 ‘learning hours’ to the paper. A full semester workload is 60 points. Therefore, students taking this course must expect to undertake a workload equivalent of around 25% of a full time load for one semester; that is about 10 hours a week for the whole semester (i.e. through to the end of study week). Assessment will be based on the assumption that students have devoted a minimum of 150 hours to the paper.
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Linkages to Other Papers

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Prerequisite(s)

Prerequisite papers: 15 points in either Sociology or Social Policy or Screen and Media Studies.

Corequisite(s)

Equivalent(s)

Restriction(s)

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