Political Economy of the Network Society

Subject MECM50001 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 5 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2013.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2
Total Time Commitment:



Admission to the postgraduate certificate, postgraduate diploma or fourth year honours in media and communication, or the Master of Global Media Communication.



Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


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: http://www.services.unimelb.edu.au/disability/


Robert Hassan


Subject Overview:

Since the end of the 1970s the world has undergone dramatic transformations that have in many ways deeply integrated the spheres of economy, culture, polity and society to an unprecedented degree. The world today is unrecognisable from that of the 1970s. This has been made possible largely through the development of information and communication technologies set upon a definable trajectory through identifiable political and economic choices made at critical periods. The subject will develop an understanding and approach to the network society that will be informed through a political economy perspective. Using the dynamics of neoliberal globalisation as the underlying foundation of the network society, it will show why the ICT revolution occurred when it did, and why it has taken the particular developmental trajectory that it has. Neoliberalism and the salience of market forces as the driver of the ICT revolution will be of particular interest in the development of the approach. The other critical dimension of the subject is that it will develop the political economy approach from a temporal perspective. That is to say, it will concentrate on the nature of speed (social, cultural, political and economic) that has undergone profound transformations since the late 1970s. What will be particularly important about this perspective is that students will gain insights into something they already recognise at some level of articulation, i.e. 'things speed up', but find difficulty in expressing intellectually why this is the case - and what the social, cultural, and personal consequences of speed are. Consequently an introduction to the concepts of social time - as opposed to the unreflective time of the clock - will form a critical element to the political economy perspective.


Students who complete this subject will:

  • develop a critical appraisal of the key transformation of this period;
  • consider the rise of the so-called 'network society', the imperatives for ts being and the effects of its continuing development across all registers of life; and
  • gain a critical perspective on the cause and possible consequences of the digital logic that has brought us the communicative forms from Twitter to Wikipedia and other emergent platforms.

Class presentation equivalent to 500 words 10% (due during the semester), essay of 2000 words 40% (due mid-semester), essay of 2500 words 50% (due in the examination period). Students are required to attend a minimum of 80% (or 10 out of 12) classes in order to qualify to have their written work assessed. Any student who fails to meet this hurdle without valid reason will not be eligible to pass the subject. All required written work must be submitted in order to pass the subject. Essays submitted after the due date without an extension will be penalised 2% per day. Essays submitted after two weeks of the assessment due date without a formally approved application for special consideration or an extension will only be marked on a pass/fail basis if accepted.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

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

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • be able to demonstrate competence in advanced library searches and information retrieval;
  • be able to demonstrate proficiency in the application of selected methods of media analysis; and
  • be able to demonstrate conformity to academic and professional protocols for presentation and research procedures.
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 100 Point Master of Global Media Communication
150 Point Master of Global Media Communication
200 Point Master of Global Media Communication

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