Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Cyberculture

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Media and Communications

DESCRIPTION This study-unit introduces new media, exploring the social and cultural contexts out of which it has emerged and through which it continues to evolve.

Study-Unit Aims:

The aim of the study-unit is to introduce the different ramifications of new media within social and culture contexts, mapping changes to the way that people in society are now living with the presence of cyberculture communities affecting their lives.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
-Think critically and consider multiple perspective of the “cyber” culture, in order to be able to grapple with the complex issues emerging from the technological landscape;
- Learn about the historical development of the Internet and other forms of new media, as well as the repercussions of the digital revolution for our communities, our identities, politics and daily interactions
Develop a critical awareness of the sociological, cultural, economic and political impact of new media.

2. Skills

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Navigate through the different manifestations of social media;
- Relate your own experience to wider empirical evidence and theoretical perspectives;
- Discern the empowerment that is brought about by open cultures.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

New books are recommended every year because of the transient nature of technology. Updated readings will be provided in the Course Description available in the VLE.

L1: Introducing Cyberculture:

- Bell, D. (2001). An introduction to cybercultures. London: Routledge.
- Benedikt, M. (1991). Cyberspace: first steps. Cambridge, Mass. London: MIT.
- Carr, N. (2008). Is google making us stupid: What the internet is doing to our brains. The Atlantic. Retrieved from
- Siapera, E. (2018). Understanding New Media (2nd Edition). London: SAGE Publications.

L2: Communities & Social Networks:

- Boyd, d. (2014). it`s complicated. New Haven: Yale University Press.
- Boyd, d. & Ellison, N. B. (2007). Social networking sites: Definition, history and scholarship. Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, 13(1). Retrieved from
- Boyd, danah & Marwick, A. E. (2011). Social privacy in networked publics: Teens’ attitudes, practices and strategies. A Decade in Internet Time: Symposium on the the Dynamics of the Internet and Society. Retrieved from
- Wellman, B. (2007). Editorial: The network is personal. Social Networks, 29(3).

L3: Identity and my-15minutes of fame:

- Boyd, d. (2006, February, 19). Identity production in a networked culture: Why youth heart MySpace. Paper presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, St. Louis, MO.
- Cachia, R., & Haché, A. (2011). Hyperlinked Avatars: Negotiating Identities and Social Relations within Social Networking Sites. In H. Greif, L. Hjorth, A. Lasén & C. Lobet-Maris (Eds.), Cultures of Participation: Media Practices, Politics and Literacy (pp. 211-228). Frankfurt/Berlin: Peter Lang.
- Mayer-Schonberger, V. (2009). Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age. Princeton University Press.
- Rosen, J. (2010). The web means the end of forgetting. The New York Times. Retrieved from
- Turkle, S. (2015). Reclaiming conversation: The power of talk in a digital age. New York: Penguin books.
- Turkle, S. (2011). Alone together: Why we expect more from technology and less from each other. New York: Basic Books.
- Turkle, S. (2008). Always-on/always-on-you: The tethered self. In J. E. Katz (Ed.), Handbook of mobile communication studies (pp. 220-259). Cambridge, London: MIT.

L4: Empowered users in an open culture:

- Gauntlett, D. (2011). Making is connecting: The social meaning of creativity, from DIY and knitting to YouTube and Web 2.0. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.
- Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence Culture: Where old and new media collide. New York & London: New York University Press.
- Ong, W. J. (1982). Orality and literacy : the technologizing of the word. London: Methuen.
- Surowiecki, J. (2005). The wisdom of crowds : why the many are smarter than the few. London: Abacus.
- Wasik, B. (2011). #Riot: Self-Organized, Hyper-Networked Revolts—Coming to a City Near You. Wired Magazine. Retrieved from

L5: Big Brother in new Media:

- Cadwalladr, C., & Graham-Harrison, E. (2018). Revealed: 50 million Facebook profiles harvested for Cambridge Analytica in major data breach: The Cambridge Analytica Files. The Guardian. Retrieved from
- Foucault, M., & Sheridan, A. (1979). Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
- Lyon, D. (2001). Surveillance society: monitoring everyday life. Buckingham: Open University Press.
- Fuchs, C. (2009). Social Networking Sites and the Surveillance Society. A Critical Case Study of the Usage of studiVZ, Facebook, and MySpace by Students in Salzburg in the Context of Electronic Surveillance. Retrieved from
- Poster, M. (1995). ‘CyberDemocracy: Internet and the Public Sphere’. Retrieved from:
- Turow, J. The daily you: How the new advertising industry is defining your identity and your worth. New Haven, Conn, London: Yale University Press.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Presentation SEM2 No 20%
Online Postings SEM2 Yes 20%
Assignment SEM2 Yes 60%

LECTURER/S Romina Cachia

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.