AZA2436 - New media and cyber cultures - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

South Africa School of Social Science


Ms Joanah Gadzikwa

Unit guides


South Africa

  • Second semester 2017 (Day)


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 countries. 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 this subject 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.


Within semester assessment: 60% + Exam: 40%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

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


AZA3436, ATS2436, ATS3436