Fall 2016: New Media and Everyday Life

As Ben Highmore argues, “Everyday life is not simply the name that is given to a reality readily available for scrutiny; it is also the name for aspects of life that lie hidden.”  Highmore’s argument gets to the heart of what this class is about. Rather than simply taking daily life as a given, we will investigate it for its potential affordances in the face of power.  Specifically, we will concentrate on the effect of “new” media in our lives. As more and more people become tied to smartphones, addicted to the Internet, and interact predominantly online, everyday life becomes entwined with computational technologies.  What are the implications of our reliance on these technologies? Do they point us to a new egalitarian future or do they merely exacerbate existing inequalities? In this course, we will explore these questions and more by looking at what sociologists, critical theorists, and new media scholars have said about everyday life.  In addition, students will have a chance to explore these questions through various hands-on exercises.