Sunday, February 13, 2011

Spring 2011 Group Processes

“The intended effects of new technology are nothing compared to the unintended effects… the Internet is an accident. . . . Nobody planned it. If we had planned it, they wouldn’t have let us do it… if somebody had showed up in 1960 and said ‘this is what we’re going to do: it’s going to do everything and it’s going to put pornography in your daughter’s bedroom…’ it wouldn’t have been allowed. - William Gibson

In recent years, social change has been driven by the intended and unintended effects of technologies that make it easier for people to “do things together”. Email made communication easier. Cell phones made coordination with friends easier. Web pages made distribution of materials easier. Blogs . . . . Wikis. . . . Social network sites. . . These technological innovations are inherently social. They are altering, and will alter, the lives of individuals, the dynamics of group, the fates of organizations, the development of cultures, and the course of history. This course studies social change by combining research on group processes with contemporary examples from around the world and the depths of ‘cyberspace’. This course provides a general framework, specific concepts, and a think tank for articulating new connections between social science and social change in contemporary life. We will place special emphasis on an international and cross cultural perspective, highlighting similarities and differences between North America and South-East Asia. Through their own digital media creations students will play an active role in the public, trans-national discussion of the nature and trajectory of these changes.

Books to buy

Additional readings and other materials that are available online or will be linked in the course outline.

Three of these books are packed together at Amazon  for like 30 bucks:

This book is free online:

This book is optional but very helpful for doing research