Social Technologies

Subject HPSC20010 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2013.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2.5 (1x1 hour lecture per week and a 90 minute tutorial for 11 weeks)
Total Time Commitment:

An average of 8.5 hours each week.





Recommended Background Knowledge:

Knowledge gained in the completion of 75 points of first year studies in any area.

Non Allowed Subjects:

tudents who have completed 'Intimacy and Technology' under the codes 136-209, 672-328 or HPSC20010 are not permitted to enrol in this subject.

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:

Subject Overview:

Social Technologies are those that we use to establish and maintain our relations with others, and that we use to know others. The subject approaches a study of social technologies through a wide variety of examples and case studies - some of very old technologies, others of new technologies. Social technologies include technologies for living together (domestic architecture and urban planning), technologies of surveillance (CAT scans and GPS systems), communications technologies (love letters and SMS), reproductive technologies (IVF and sheep-gut), technologies that mediate personal identity (the data-body and flesh-fashion), and that mediate social and community relations (swarms and social networks). The unifying themes that run through these examples approach social technologies in terms of their propensity to shape, abstract, attenuate, individuate and discipline our relations, and students are invited to critically assess this argument. In so doing, students will gain a fresh and critical understanding of the ways in which technologies and our lives are intertwined.

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A student who has successfully completed this subject will

  • understand and critically interpret the major theoretical and philosophical approaches that inform our knowledge of sociotechnical relations.
  • demonstrate a critical appreciation of the implications of particular sociotechnologies for self, and for human relations.
  • identify, interpret and recount sociotechnical case studies relevant to social relations.

A 2500-word essay 50% (due at the end of semester), a 1000-word essay 30% (due in week 4) and a 500-word seminar presentation 20% (due during the semester).

Hurdle requirement: students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials in order to pass this subject. Regular participation in tutorials is required. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day; after five working days late assessment will not be marked. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

Subject readings will be available online.

Recommended Texts:

Bauman, Zygmunt (2003), Liquid love: on the frailty of human bonds, Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • form defensible judgements based on a critical evaluation of conflicting arguments.
  • develop skills in written and oral communication.
  • make appropriate use of primary and secondary sources in mounting an argument.
  • conduct independent research.
Links to further information:
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Gender Studies
Gender Studies
Gender Studies
Gender Studies Major
History and Philosophy of Science
History and Philosophy of Science
History and Philosophy of Science
History and Philosophy of Science Major
Related Breadth Track(s): Science, Technology and Society

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