Digital Society-Theory and Substantive Issues SOCIO5103

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

The course "Digital Society-Theory and Substantive Issues" is designed to familiarize the students with existing concepts and theories and to complement their everyday knowledge of digitalization with academic understandings, mostly coming from the social sciences. The course will first provide a critical overview of the history of digitalization, the information and knowledge society as well as of the emergence of the platform economy and the Internet of Things. The course will then focus on key areas of social life that have been reconfigured by digitalization. This includes work, production and consumption, health, identity, the welfare system, personal relationships, and political and civic participation. By the end of the course, students will be able to critically evaluate the impacts of digitalization and of the increasing datafication of every aspect of social life in the broader context of social transformations and structures of inequality.


2 hrs/week (1 lecture+1 seminar).

No specific timetable coordination.

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses



Full-time students must simultaneously complete the course "Practicing Research and Working with Data in the Digital Age" (SOCIO5102), which is the other 1st semester core course in the Digital Sociology MSc.


This does not apply to part-time students who may choose to enrol in only 1 core course per semester. 


The sole marked assessment (100% of the total module mark) will be in the form of a 4000-word essay. Students will be asked to undertake a case study analysis of an issue (of interest to them) raised by the digitalisation of specific areas of social life including for example health, work, personal relationship, political participation or security. The essay should demonstrate a critical engagement with and reflection on the social transformations prompted by the emergence of digital technologies in social life.

Course Aims

The aims of this course are threefold. At a theoretical level, it aims to introduce students to concepts and approaches typical for the social sciences and it looks at how they may bring produce insights in debates about digitalization. At a substantive level, it aims to explore the ways in which digital transformations are becoming embedded in different aspects of social reality, and what adjacent social processes can be associated with digitalization. At a practical level, it provides students with the opportunity to consider the challenges posed by the digital age, both for scholars within the social sciences, and for those impacted by digitalization in other capacities.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Demonstrate an advanced understanding of a wide range of concepts and theories from the social sciences which are typically used in debates about digitalization;

■ Develop original and creative arguments about how digital transformations are impacting different areas of contemporary society;

■ Formulate complex interrogations about the value, innovative potential and social challenges of digitalization;

■ Identify, conceptualise and critically define new social phenomena/ fields/ situations which have been transformed in the digital age.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components of the course's summative assessment.