10921 Issues in Sociology of the Internet and On-line Communication 1

Credits: 6 advanced credits in Communication or in Sociology & Anthropology

Prerequisites: 36 credits, including Introduction to Sociology, or both Introduction to Mass Media and Introduction to the Social Sciences. Students must also fulfill all English requirements and take bibliographic instruction in the Library.

Recommended: Communication: Technology, Culture and Social Change; Introduction to Mass Media2

The course is based on a reader (in English) edited by Netta Ha-Ilan.

On-line communication enables individuals, while alone at their personal computers, to engage in social relations. Aside from serving as an infrastructure for disseminating information, entertainment, social involvement, mutual assistance, commerce or political activity, the Internet is also an interactive medium where the distinction between the target audience and creators and distributors is becoming blurred.

Our point of departure is the Internet as a social concept. The course deals with the ways in which individuals rely on technology in order to create and cultivate relations, and it discusses how the Internet and online communication relate to culture in modern society. By examining issues such as identity, social interaction, communities and social boundaries, social movements and social change, the course attempts to analyze the significance of the Internet as a medium that offers new opportunities while creating constraints.

Objectives: To apply approaches and analytical tools, familiar to students from other courses, to mediation processes of which online communication is a part, and to examine the validity of these approaches and tools in light of the changes following integration of a new medium.

1Students may write a seminar paper in this course, although it is not required.

2Students who took Introduction to Sociology are advised to take Introduction to Mass Media.