Past and Present: The Social Network and History

Module code: V1451
Level 6
30 credits in autumn semester
Teaching method: Lecture, Seminar
Assessment modes: Take away paper

This module uses historical work on the idea of civil society and social networks to analyse and contextualise the rise of contemporary digital civil society. It focuses on associational culture as a lens to provide historical examples of social networks and looks at the political, social and cultural functions of these groups (e.g. debating clubs, charity organisations, etc.).

The module works chronologically through the 19th and 20th centuries and considers practical examples of associational culture in Ireland and Britain before looking at early, transnational, digital, social networks or communities from the 1980s and 1990s. It concludes with a consideration of current ideas of the “social network” and the extent to which historical perspectives provide a fuller understanding of its significance.

Module learning outcomes

  • Deploy a historical perspective on contemporary problems through an exploration of their origins, evolution, and legacies.
  • Analyse how contemporary perspectives may reshape our understanding of the past.
  • Undertake a critical analysis and assessment of historical categories.
  • Construct sophisticated written arguments that demonstrate intellectual maturity and integrity.
  • Provide a coherent written expression of their views and engage in sustained debate.