Media, Data and Society (DIG501)

The digital transformation has revolutionised how citizens behave and interact which each other, their practice in the labour market, their participation in civic life, and their relationship with the welfare state. This is an ongoing process that converts everyday life into data points, presenting new opportunities and challenges to living and working in modern societies.

To this end, this course tries to answer two guiding questions: 1) What are the potential benefits and challenges that the ongoing process of datafication in contemporary societies present? And 2) To what extent do media technologies support, strengthen, and accelerate the datafication process? These questions will provide the conceptual and critical foundations for exploring one of the most pervasive social transformations.

On the one hand, digitalisation is tied to many positive processes, including increased efficiency, innovation in business and public administration, increased connectivity and information access and abundance. On the other hand, being human in the digital world also raises new questions about the effects of technology on social relations and identities, political processes and democratic participation, mediated communication as well as the sustainability of digital media technologies.

Course description for study year 2024-2025. Please note that changes may occur.


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Semester tution start


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The media and journalism studies with a focus on their application to the digital society. More concretely, the course employs socio-technical theory, science and technology studies, actor-network theory, new materialisms, and medium theory to understand emerging issues in digitalisation and society through case- and problem-based approaches. Issues and controversies discussed will be subject to recent and current developments but include topics such as data access, digital divides, and digital inequality; the effects of surveillance on culture, trust, and identity; technology capture and platform power; misinformation and disinformation; algorithmic bias; data protection and privacy. Cases analysed in the course include problematics such as digital government surveillance, behavioural and psychometric profiling for political and economic gains, predictive technologies in managing risk, and algorithmically mediated networks.

Learning outcome

It is expected that the students after completing the course will have the following knowledge, skills, and general competencies.


On completion of this course, the student should be able to:

  • Critically assess digitalisation processes across various social realms.
  • Employ social science theories to understand the transformations within the digital society.
  • Discuss the effects of algorithms, datafication, and platforms on social and political relations.
  • Thorough knowledge about the interconnection of media technologies and digital infrastructure in the increasing digitalisation of society.


On completion of this course, the student should be able to:

  • Formulate and critically analyse current and emerging challenges associated with the digitalisation of society.
  • Apply and argue social science theory to technological developments and their societal impacts.
  • Work independently under supervision to write a term paper on a relevant topic.

General competencies

On completion of this course, the student should be able to:

  • Appraise the interconnectedness between communication technologies, digital infrastructures, and society.
  • Relate the current digitalisation processes to social science theory and their relevance to the digital society.
  • Evaluate the consequences of technology on human relations.
  • Formulate insights into past, current, and emerging benefits and challenges involving digital technology.

Required prerequisite knowledge


Recommended prerequisites

Students should be familiar with reading academic literature from the social sciences and / or willing to get acquainted with literature from the social sciences and related concepts and theories.


Form of assessment Weight Duration Marks Aid
Term Paper 1/1 1 Semesters Letter grades All

Coursework requirements

Compulsory assignments

Students have to pass an obligatory written or oral assignment to qualify for the final exam.

Course teacher(s)

Course teacher:

Raul Ferrer Conill

Course coordinator:

Helle Sjøvaag

Study Adviser:

Magda Hognestad

Method of work

Lectures, case- and problem-based seminars, group work, and term paper writing.

Open for

Digital Society and Societal Transformations - Master's Degree Programme
Exchange programme at Faculty of Social Sciences
Courses offered to inbound exchange students at the University of Stavanger

Course assessment

There must be an early dialogue between the course supervisor, the student union representative and the students. The purpose is feedback from the students for changes and adjustments in the course for the current semester.In addition, a digital subject evaluation must be carried out at least every three years. Its purpose is to gather the students experiences with the course.


The syllabus can be found in Leganto