Faculty of Arts

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitSchool of Social Science, South Africa
OfferedSouth Africa First semester 2013 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Joanah Gadzikwa


In this unit students gain an understanding of the technological, social, economic and political forces driving the development, and adoption of new media and communications technologies. These driving forces and the adoption of new media and communications technologies are traced in terms of their relevance to South Africa and other African coutries. The unit uses case studies of South African and global examples of when 'old technologies were new' such as the telegraph and radio as well as the social shaping of very recent examples of new media, such as Online Social Networking and Twitter. Instrumentalist, substantivist and technologically determinist perspectives on new media will be compared as a means of understanding the dynamic convergence of telecommunications, IT and media industries.


At the completion of the unit students are expected to:

  1. Have gained an understanding of the historical development of new media technologies with specific reference to South Africa and Africa;
  2. Have gained knowledge leading to a more informed understanding of contemporary developments in communication internationally;
  3. Understand the processes and effects of media convergence, with particular reference to the Internet and other emergent technologies globally, in South Africa and on the African continent;
  4. Have gained an understanding of the forces driving the global information revolution;
  5. understand the issues arising from mass adoption of new media technologies;
  6. Have developed the ability to critically analyse and evaluate the economic, social, cultural, political impacts of communication developments, with specific reference to the political mobilisation of civilians in countries such Egypt and Lybia.
  7. Have developed an understanding of the global and social divides as they apply to the African continent.


Major essay (2250 words): 50%
Exam (1800 words): 40%
Tutorial participation (450 words equivalent): 10%

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

One 2-hour lecture and one 1-hour tutorial per week

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study