How do I demonstrate a critical understanding of the history, politics, economics and cultures of the internet and internetworked technologies?
The key to demonstrating a critical understanding in this assignment lies in:
The ability to link the past to the present. If we are talking about Web 2.0, or copyright, or early issues of WIRED, the point is that these are not simply aspects of the internet’s past, but that they continue to shape the present. To use the language of institutional social science, there is a ‘path dependency’ between ‘old ideas’ and current decisions and debates. So the idea that the Internet is about ‘freedom’ continues to shape everything from platform governance to international relations to questions about whether or not to de-platform prominent figures.
Being aware of the interdependence of elements. To take an example, digital platforms have an underlying business model that differentiates them from the open Web. So the fact that we primarily access Internet content through platforms (search engines, social media etc.) informs both the types of content which we access, and what choices are made about what content to produce for and distribute on the Web.
Being able to think about a technology, platform, app etc. not just in terms of its affordances (i.e. what you can do with it), but in terms of the interests that lie behind its development, its political economy, competing uses of the platform, and what its competitors are also doing.
How do I demonstrate an awareness of social & cultural issues arising from networked change?
Good assignments will be able to give examples of social and cultural issues or events which are relevant to the argument they are making, and explaining this relevance.
The best answers will make use of peer reviewed research (journals and books), as well as major reports by research institutions such as the Pew Internet Research Centre or a regulator like Australia’s ACMA to evidence the argument. Media articles or online sources can provide examples or illustrative material, but should not be the primary drivers of the argument
Answers make a logical argument and provide evidence for any claims.
Using the MindMap framework outlined in Week 3, they should be able to move from description (what is in the article) to argument (what points is the author/are the authors making) to personal assessments that are informed by available evidence (I agree with/disagree with the author because … [informed by evidence]).
Source: Capstone Editing (n.d.), How to Write a Journal Article.
One thing to watch out for is technological determinism. The term technological determinism has been defined as ‘the stance that new technologies are the primary cause of major social and historical changes’ (Oxford Reference https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803102813253).
The internet and digital technologies do not ‘do’ things in their own right. As non-human actors, they facilitate our uses of them, and what happens using them is informed by a mix of ideas that we have about them, political, economic and other interests involved with them, and institutions and other forces that govern and regulate their use.
Presentation – referencing
Please use APA referencing or another recognised style – see the library guides at
You must reference the publication names and dates for media articles – not just the page title and URL with (author, date) in the in-text citation.
Detailed information on using APA Style can be found at https://libguides.library.usyd.edu.au/ld.php?content_id=49237993
The in-text citation (author, date) must have a page number when you quote the author.