The Internet and Civil Society POLITIC5017

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

The course will invite students to examine how digital media are used by governments, civil society organisations (CSOs) and social movements in different parts of the world. The course will explore how or whether digital media are affecting the quality of democracy, the strength of civil society and the prospects of democratisation.

Timetable

One lecture and one seminar held weekly for 10 weeks.

Requirements of Entry

Open to postgraduate students only

Assessment

Two essays of no more than 3,000 words each; each worth 50%.

Course Aims

The course aims to introduce students to research about the impact of digital media on the quality of democracy, the strength of civil society and the prospects of democratisation.

The course will invite students to critically evaluate concepts and theories relating to the implications of digital media for (1) civic engagement, (2) protests and contentious collective action, (3) advocacy campaigns, (4) surveillance and government control, (5) the development of transnational civil society, and (6) the promotion of democracy beyond the West.

Students will have the opportunity to study the relationship between digital media and socio-political outcomes in democratic contexts (the UK, the USA, Europe) and non-democratic contexts (Russia, the Middle East, China).

The course aims to give students the skills and confidence to develop their own well-informed arguments about the implications of digital media for democracy, the strength of civil society and democratisation.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

On successful completion of the course, students should be able to:

■ Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of theoretical debates about the impact of digital media on the quality of democracy, the strength of civil society and the prospects of democratisation;

■ Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how governments and citizens around the world have used digital media to pursue political goals, in both democratic and non-democratic contexts;

■ Critically evaluate the methods and results of qualitative and quantitative research relating to the impact of digital media on diverse outcomes;

■ Use appropriate concepts, theories and examples from the research literature to describe and explain contemporary developments in politics and society;

■ Synthesize multiple sources of evidence to produce sophisticated and convincing arguments in speech and in writing.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

  Successful completion of assessment components.