CCGL9008 Global Issues

Cybersocieties: Understanding Technology as Global Change

[This course is under the thematic clusters of ‘Sustaining Cities, Cultures, and the Earth’ and ‘The Universe and the Question of Meaning’.]


Course Description

The dual revolutions of technology and globalization are shaping each other and directing the way we live, learn, work and socialize. As evidenced by a wide range of fundamental social, cultural, political and economic transformations, the world today is becoming increasingly globalized. Within this environment, it is essential that we examine how Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is directing and redefining what it means to live in a “global society”. The melding of technology and globalization has become the touchstone of the new millennium and it is impossible to discuss the impact and significance of one without the other.

Within this context, this course asks: What impact does the internet and online social networks have on how we interact with each other, how we perceive global issues as well as how we perceive ourselves? What kind of global society are we heading toward? How is digital activism, especially by youth, changing society? This course also requires students to reflect critically on their own uses of technology and how today’s “net generation” is confronted with global technologies that are, at once, both empowering and constraining. This course is designed to inspire students to not only broaden their interest and understanding of globalization, but to develop a position as informed global citizens, to articulate the impact of technology on all human endeavors, and to improvise how technologies can be used to achieve a set of sustainable development goals (SDGs) outlined by the United Nations.

This course will make use of a mix of online videos and broad-based lectures. It is intended to be interdisciplinary in scope, embracing topics within the field of sociology, criminology, anthropology, gender studies, media and communication, philosophy, business, political science, economics, science and technology and the humanities. Students are expected to actively participate and have a willingness to immerse in social media such as web forums, blogs, tweets, YouTube and related video sharing sites.

Course Learning Outcomes

On completing the course, students will be able to:

  1. Differentiate and integrate the key theories, concepts and issues relating to globalization and ICT.
  2. Apply key concepts and theories framing the interface of globalization and ICT to their everyday experiences.
  3. Demonstrate a keen understanding of the interconnectedness of the world by critically evaluating films, websites, video clips, Internet media, and other sources.
  4. Explore and apply a multi-cultural perspective of global citizenship and the duties and responsibilities associated with global membership.
  5. Express a critical understanding of the digital divide debate and understand how both the “haves” and “have nots” of technology are simultaneously benefited and limited by ICT.

Offer Semester and Day of Teaching

Second semester (Wed)


Study Load

Activities Number of hours
Lectures 26
Tutorials 10
Reading / Self-study 20
Assessment: Essay / Report writing 30
Assessment: Presentation (incl preparation) 40
Assessment: In-class test (incl preparation) 8
Total: 134

Assessment: 100% coursework

Assessment Tasks Weighting
Group YouTube project/presentation 40
Reflection writing 30
In-class test 20
Tutorial critical reflections and discussion 10

Required Reading

  • Boyd, d. (2015). It’s complicated: The social lives of networked teens. New Haven, Yale University Press. [pp. 29-53]
  • Ben-Ze’ev, A. (2004). Love online: Emotions on the Internet. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Gunkel, D. (2003). Second thoughts: Toward a critique of the digital divide. New Media & Society, 5(4), 599-522. 
  • Jenkins, H. (2008). Convergence culture: Where old and new media collide. New York: New York University Press. [pp. 1-24, 93-130]
  • Miller, V. (2011). Understanding digital culture. London: SAGE. [pp. 111–133]
  • Pun, N., Tse, T., & Ng, K. (2017). Challenging digital capitalism: SACOM’s campaigns against Apple and Foxconn as monopoly capital. Information, Communication & Society.
  • Ritzer, G., & Jurgenson, N. (2010). Production, consumption, prosumption: The nature of capitalism in the age of the digital ‘prosumer’. Journal of Consumer Culture, 10(1), 13-36.
  • Tse, T., & Tsang, L. T. (2017). From clicks-and-bricks to online-to-offline: The evolving e-tail/retail space as immersive media in Hong Kong and Mainland China. In  A. Kent & A. Petermans (Eds.), Retail design: Theoretical perspectives. United Kingdom: Routledge.

Required Websites

Recommended Reading

  • Barber, B. R. (2002). Beyond Jihad vs. McWorld: On terrorism and the new democratic realism. The Nation, 274(2), 11.
  • Bruns, A. (2008). Blogs, wikipedia, second life, and beyond: From production to produsage. New York: Peter Lang. [pp. 1-36]
  • Castells, M. (1996). The rise of the network society. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Publishers.
  • Castells, M. (2001). The Internet galaxy: Reflections on the Internet, business, and society.  Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Deuze, M. (2006). Participation, remediation, bricolage: Considering principal components of a digital culture. The Information Society, 22, 63-75.
  • Deuze, M. (2007). Convergence culture in creative industry. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 10(2), 243-252.
  • Duguay, S., Burgess, J., & Light, B. (2017). Mobile Dating and Hookup App Culture. In P. Messaris & L. Humphreys (Eds.), Digital media: Transformations in human communication (pp. 213-221). Peter Lang, New York.
  • Ellwood, W. (2001). The no-nonsense guide to globalization. Oxford: New Internationalist.
  • Fernback, J. (2007). Beyond the diluted community concept: A symbolic interactionist perspective on online social relations. New Media & Society, 9(1), 49-69.
  • Friedman, T. L. (2005). The world is flat: A brief history of the twenty-first century (1st ed.). New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
  • Gershon, I. (2010). Breakup 2.0: Disconnecting over new media. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
  • Haas, S. M., Irr, M. E., Jennings, N. A., & Wagner, L. M. (2011). Communicating thin: A grounded model of online negative enabling support groups in the pro-anorexia movement. New Media & Society, 13(1), 40-57.
  • Hamari, J., Sjöklint, M., & Ukkonen, A. (2016). The sharing economy: Why people participate in collaborative consumption. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 67(9), 2047-2059.
  • Jenkins, H. (2004). The cultural logic of media convergence. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 7(1), 33-43
  • Kristen, B., & Gina, N. (2016). Technologies for sharing: Lessons from quantified self about the political economy of platforms. Information, Communication & Society, 19(4), 518-531.
  • Lee, J., & Lee, H. (2010). The computer-mediated communication network: Exploring the linkage between the online community and social capital. New Media & Society, 12(5), 711-727.
  • Livingstone, S. (2008). Taking risky opportunities in youthful content creation: Teenagers’ use of social networking sites for intimacy, privacy and self-expression. New Media & Society, 10(3), 393-411.
  • Magnet, S. (2007). Feminist sexualities, race and the Internet: An investigation of suicidegirls.comNew Media & Society, 9(4), 577-602.
  • Marwick, A., & Boyd, D. (2011). I tweet honestly, I tweet passionately: Twitter users, context collapse, and the imagined audience. New Media & Society, 13(1), 114-133.
  • Mehra, B., Merkel, C., & Bishop, A. P. (2004). The Internet for empowerment of minority and marginalized users. New Media & Society, 6(6), 781-802.
  • Miller, D. (2011). Tales from Facebook. Cambridge: Polity.
  • Neff, G., & Nafus, D. (2017). Self-tracking. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Qiu, J. (2016). Manufactured iSlaves. Goodbye iSlave. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. [pp. 89-118]
  • Quinn, B. (2002). Techno Fashion, Oxford; New York: Berg.
  • Robinson, L. (2007). The cyber-self: The self-ing project goes online, symbolic interaction in the digital age. New Media & Society, 9(1), 93-110.
  • Sassi, S. (2005). Cultural differentiation or social segregation? Four approaches to the digital divide. New Media & Society, 7(5), 684-700.
  • Shirky, C. (2008). Everyone is a media outlet. Here comes everybody: The power of organizing without organizing. London: Penguin Books Ltd. [pp. 55-80]
  • Stiglitz, J. E. (2006). Making globalization work (1st ed.). New York: W. W. Norton & Co.
  • Taylor, P. (2005). From hackers to hacktivists: Speed bumps on the global superhighway? New Media & Society, 7(5), 625-646.
  • Turkle, S. (1996). Life on the screen: Identity in the age of the Internet. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.
  • Turkle, S. (2011). Alone together: Why we expect more from technology. New York: Basic Books. [pp. 151-170]
  • Vandebosch, H., & Van Cleemput, K. (2009). Cyberbullying among youngsters: Profiles of bullies and victims. New Media & Society, 11(8), 1349-1371.
  • Van Deursen, A., & Van Dijk, J. (2011). Internet skills and the digital divide. New Media & Society, 13(6), 893-911.
  • Van Deursen, A., & Van Dijk, J. (2014). The digital divide shifts to differences in usage. New Media & Society, 16(3), 507-526.
  • Vrooman, S. (2002). The art of invective: Performing identity in cyberspace. New Media & Society, 4(1), 51-70.
  • Warschauer, M. (2003). Technology and social inclusion: Rethinking the digital divide. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Course Co-ordinator and Teacher(s)

Course Co-ordinator Contact
Dr T.H.L. Tse
Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences
Tel: 3917 8532
Email: tommyt@hku.hk
Teacher(s) Contact
Dr T.H.L. Tse
Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences
Tel: 3917 8532
Email: tommyt@hku.hk
Dr F.C. Serban
Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences
Tel:
Email: fcserban@hku.hk