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Information Society and Digital Media Culture




Admissions requirements

Essentials of Journalism and Investigative Journalism or Television News Reporting.


During the course we will collaboratively explore a range of pressing questions about our relationship with technology and information. Paying attention to the ideological basis, historical roots, political economy and cultural practices we will try to understand critically the role of ‘information’ in contemporary societies and what is to be understood with ‘information society’.

While on the one hand digital media is often associated with the democratic potential and increasing transparency, on the other hand many people also feel increasingly overwhelmed by information and technology in their daily lives. While some people feel empowered through the use of new technologies, others find themselves exploited. Throughout the classes we will sensitize ourselves with the various ways and contexts in which people deal with technology in their lives and the larger structural processes that shape these experiences.

Some of the questions that we will examine during the course are – what is really new about the new media and what are the historical continuities? Who are the gatekeepers in the information society? How to make sense of the algorithmic realities that influence what becomes visible and what hidden? What does digital civil rights mean and what ideologies underlie the idea of an active citizen? Is privacy indeed dead? In this process we will engage with online and offline social phenomena ranging from Wikileaks to Nigerian spam e-mails, from development projects to advertising economy, from big data to selfies and grassroots journalism.

Course objectives

After successful completion of this course, students will be able to take part in discussions regarding the political, cultural and economic factors that govern the global dispersion of information technologies and the obsession with “information” in general.
Students will be able to historicize new media developments and critically examine the often conflicting ideas about progress brought about by technological change.

They will be able to identify the various ideological and political purposes to which ICT is put to use by differently-positioned groups around the world.

Students will be able to employ observations of online and offline phenomena to develop their arguments about life in information society.
After completion of this course students will be able to synthesize the various experiences related to information society and report on them in academic text as well as essays intended for general audience.


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

The course will consist of lectures where students will be expected to actively take part in discussions and occasionally present their individual or group work to the rest of the class. We will also have at least one excursion and a ‘get-out-of-the-building’ assignment where students will have to do ethnographic observations.


  • Discussions in the class and Weekly Media Master: 5%

  • Individually written academic essay based on literature and additional material search due next class: 10%

  • Individually written blog post based on literature and additional material search due next class: 10%

  • Field observation with a group presentation: 15%

  • Online experiment with a group presentation: 15%

  • Group work video presentation: 20%

  • Final exam: 25%


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

We will use a wide selection of articles published in scientific journals available through the Leiden University Library digital catalogue.


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Curriculum Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


Zane Kripe,