Social Dynamics of the Internet: Course for Fall 2015 (MSU)

This course focuses on the social shaping of the Internet and its societal implications. Students are introduced to issues surrounding the social impact of the Internet and related media, communication and information technologies, including social media, mobile and the Internet of Things. The course will cover major issues, including implications for democracy, collective action, social networking, the quality of news and information, privacy, freedom of expression and economic development. Perspectives on how people design, use, regulate and otherwise shape technologies are covered. An emphasis in course readings and discussion is placed on theoretical perspectives and empirical approaches to challenging conventional wisdom about the social impact of the Internet and related technologies, such as the social media, mobile Internet, and the Internet of Things.

Prospective Readings Include:

Graham, M., and Dutton, W. H. (2014) (eds), Society & the Internet: How Networks of Information and Communication are Changing our Lives. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Keen, A. (2015), The Internet Is Not The Answer. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press.

Rainie, L., and Wellman, B. (2012), Networking: The New Social Operating System. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Additional for Graduate Students

Dutton, W. H. (2014) (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Internet Studies, paperback edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Further Readings

Doctorow, C. (2014), Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age. San Francisco: McSweeney’s.

Hartley, J., Burgess, J., and Bruns, A. (2013) (eds), A Companion to New Media Dynamics. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.




3 thoughts on “Social Dynamics of the Internet: Course for Fall 2015 (MSU)

  1. Hello Prof. Dutton

    I am a 2nd yr. undergraduate student at the University of Bedfordshire. I am studying ‘Education’ and looking at literature, on social influences online for children and young people.

    I am trying to find a paper you wrote in 2005 and presented to a conference. I would like to read it as I keep coming across it in my studies. Here is the reference, please, can you help? I could not find it online.

    Dutton, W (2005). The social dynamics of the internet. Paper presented to the International Knowledge and Society Conference, University of California, Berkeley, February (

Comments are most welcome