BASS Politics and Criminology / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
New Media

Unit code SOCY20241
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Sociology
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Brief overview of the syllabus/topics.

New media concepts: General terms web 2, social media, Technology and society.

Political economy: Informational capitalism, Changes in employment, New media.

Politics: political activism and new media, Social movements and the internet, Web 2 politics.

The digital divide: Unequal patterns of new media usage, role placed by race/ethnicity, age and gender.

Use and Abuse: Diffusion and adoption, Use gratification and domestication, Internet Addiction, Cyberbullying and trolling.

The ‘dark side’ of the new media: Surveillance, Cyber-conflict, terrorism and security, Cyber crime, fraud and deception, On line violent and extreme pornography.

The internet and journalism: Convergence, Multi-media journalism, Production, content and consumption of new media news.

Development of mobile media: Global spread, Mobile media politics and society, Changes to daily life.

Identity and Social media: Society, community and identity in the new media age, Networks and sociality, Social media, Networked Individualism.

Games and gaming: The games industry, Genres, representations and narratives, Gaming practices, Gaming communities.


New media has had a major impact on our daily lives. It has changed the way we do business, the way we play games, our access to information and the way we communicate. It has given rise to cyber crime, increased surveillance and thrown up new issues of safety and security. There is also an increasing divide between those with access to new media and those that do not. Understanding new media leads to an understanding of changes and transformations in social processes, norms, ideas and practices. The media are inextricably bound to society: the study of one requires the study of the other. This unit is therefore concerned with tracking and critically examining the changes in society associated with the new media. Students will be expected to engage with new media and the unit looks at the topic from a general empirical social science perspective rather than a media or theoretical standpoint.

Learning outcomes

Student should/will be able to

- Engage in debates about new information technologies and social change
- Understand issues of privacy and security relating to online media
- Critically apprehend the relationship between technology, new media and society
- Engage with new media and learn by interacting with the material
- Evaluate empirical data relating to new media and its uses

Teaching and learning methods

Main ideas will be presented in a  3 hour weekly lecture/workshop which will include student presentations on case studies. 

Assessment methods

  • Coursework essay - 2000 words, 50%
  • Online, open book exam - 50%
  • Formative assignment (5% penalty for non-submission)
  • Either: 1. Contribute to a blog on current issues in new media; or, 2. Prepare a multimedia presentation on some aspect of the course either individually or in a small group.

Feedback methods

All sociology courses include both formative feedback – which lets you know how you’re getting on and what you could do to improve – and summative feedback – which gives you a mark for your assessed work.

Recommended reading

Tom Standage (2013)“Writing on the Wall”, Bloomsbury

Flew, Terry (2014) “New Media”. Oxford University Press.

Green, Lelia (2010) The Internet. Oxford: Berg.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 20
Practical classes & workshops 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 168

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
David Schoch Unit coordinator
Martin Everett Unit coordinator

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