• Offered by School of Sociology
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Classification Transitional
  • Course subject Sociology
  • Areas of interest Social Research, Sociology, Digital Humanities
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person

This course will introduce students to the social science debates concerning an important emerging form of social order: digital platforms. Bringing together approaches from the sub-fields of science and technology studies, digital sociology,and economic and media sociology, it will provide students with several major analytical frameworks for understanding the emergence and importance of platforms in the context of social order, identity, values, power, communication and institutions. The module is designed to equip students with generalisable theoretical perspectives and with practical experience in researching platforms from a range of different perspectives.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
  1. identify and analyse key debates concerning platforms in science studies, digital sociology, and media-cultural sociology;
  2. demonstrate rich contextual understanding of different aspects of digital platforms as they relate to contemporary experience, the life of social groups, forms of value, and knowledge practices;
  3. develop capacity to design and carry out case study-based and/or participant-based research into a contemporary platform, and document the results of the research in written form; and
  4. reflect on and discuss their learning in relation to the content of the course.

Indicative Assessment

Class participation 10% (LO 4)
Group platform project 20% (1,500 words, LO 3)
Critical essay  70% (4,500 words, LO 1,2) 

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
 a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks:  1x 3 hour seminar and workshop per week
 b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Preliminary Reading

  • Bucher, Taina. 2017. “The Algorithmic Imaginary: Exploring the Ordinary Affects of Facebook Algorithms.” Information, Communication & Society 20 (1):30–44. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2016.1154086.
  • Gillespie, Tarleton. 2010. “The Politics of ‘Platforms’.” New Media & Society 12 (3):347–64.
  • Hogan, Mél, and Tamara Shepherd. 2015. “Information Ownership and Materiality in an Age of Big Data Surveillance.” Journal of Information Policy 5:6–31.
  • Plantin, Jean-Christophe, Carl Lagoze, Paul N Edwards, and Christian Sandvig. 2016. “Infrastructure Studies Meet Platform Studies in the Age of Google and Facebook.” New Media & Society, August, 1461444816661553. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444816661553.
  • Skeggs, Beverley, and Simon Yuill. 2016. “Capital Experimentation with Person/a Formation: How Facebook’s Monetization Refigures the Relationship Between Property, Personhood and Protest.” Information, Communication & Society 19 (3):380–96. http://www-tandfonline-com.ezproxy.lancs.ac.uk/doi/abs/10.1080/1369118X.2015.1111403.
  • Srnicek, Nick. 2016. Platform Capitalism. Cambridge, UK ; Malden, MA: Polity Press.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2021 $3630
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2021 $5580
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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There are no current offerings for this course.

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