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Why We Post: the Anthropology of Social Media
This free online course is based on the work of nine anthropologists who each spent 15 months in fieldsites in Brazil, Chile, industrial and rural China, England, India, Italy, Trinidad and Turkey.
What are the consequences of social media?
The course offers a new definition of social media which concentrates on the content posted, not just the capabilities of platforms. It examines the increasing importance of images in communication and the reasons why people post memes, selfies and photographs.
Over five weeks you will explore the impact of social media on a wide range of topics including politics, education, gender, commerce, privacy and equality. You will come to understand how the consequences of social media vary from region to region.
Take a comparative and anthropological approach to social media
The course will be taught by the same nine anthropologists who carried out the original fieldwork and who are publishing eleven books based on this research.
You will meet many of our informants through our films, engage with our team through video discussions and lectures, and encounter our ideas through animations, infographics and text.
Adopting an anthropological and comparative approach, we strive to understand not only how social media has changed the world, but how the world has changed social media.
Translations of this course can be found on UCLeXtend in the following languages: Chinese, Italian, Hindi, Portuguese, Spanish, Tamil and Turkish.
- What is social media and how should we define it?
- Academic approaches to social media and an introduction to anthropology.
- The rise of images in communication.
- The impact of social media on gender and politics.
- The impact of social media on education, commerce and privacy.
- The impact of social media on inequality.
Learning on this course
You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.
What will you achieve?
By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...
- Apply critical thinking to a range of cross-cultural qualitative and quantitative evidence.
- Asses social media from an anthropological perspective and conduct mini research projects.
- Compare one's own perspective on social media to those from other cultural backgrounds.
Who is the course for?
The only requirement is an interest in social media and people.
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