MC413      Half Unit
Information, Communication and Knowledge Systems

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Robin Mansell STC. S107


This course is available on the MSc in Global Media and Communications (LSE and Fudan), MSc in Global Media and Communications (LSE and USC), MSc in Media and Communications, MSc in Media and Communications (Media and Communications Governance), MSc in Media and Communications (Research), MSc in Media, Communication and Development and MSc in Politics and Communication. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

The aim of this course is to examine how innovation processes influence the development of new information and communication technologies and the information and knowledge systems they support. These processes are introduced, with an emphasis on the social and economic implications of recent changes for Internet service producers and their users. Information and communication technologies are developed and used within a complex innovation system. Students are encouraged to develop critical appraisals of the way this system is contributing to changes that are both empowering and disempowering for people whose lives are mediated by the online environment. The course emphasizes policy issues and conflicts related to the Internet and social media. Particular attention is given to social, political and economic incentives to develop open digital services and to why dominant network and service providers often prefer proprietary services for reasons of security, privacy, or profit.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the MT.

Formative coursework

All students are expected to complete advance reading, prepare seminar presentations, and submit one essay of 1,500 words.

Indicative reading

Albagli, S. and Maciel, M. L. (eds) (2010) Information, Power, and Politics: Technological and Institutional Mediations, Lexington Books; Brown, I. and Marsden, C. (2013)  Regulating Code: Good Governance and Better Regulation in the Information Age.  MIT Press; Blum, A. (2012) Tubes: Behind the Scenes at the Internet. Penguin (non academic introduction); Curran, J. et al. (2012) Misunderstanding the Internet, Routledge; Dutton, W. H. (ed) (2013) The Oxford Handbook of Internet Studies, Oxford University Press; Flichy, P. (2007) The Internet Imaginaire, MIT Press; Mansell, R. (2012) Imagining the Internet: Communication, Innovation and Governance, Oxford University Press; Mansell, R. and Raboy, M. (eds) (2011) The Handbook of Global Media and Communication Policy (pp. 1-20), Blackwell-Wiley; Mayer-Schonberger, V. and Cukier, K. (2013) Big Data: A Revolution that will Transform How We Live, Work and Think. Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt; Turkle, S. (2011) Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, Basic Books.


Essay (100%, 3000 words) in the LT.

To be submitted in week 2 of Lent Term.

Teachers' comment

This course examines the opportunities and risks accompanying innovations in Internet services, why they matter, and how individuals, governments, and companies are shaping the future of the online world.

Students' comments

"Interesting topic, really communicates a critical view of our everyday way of life - very valuable."

Key facts

Department: Media & Communications

Total students 2012/13: 33

Average class size 2012/13: 15

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Specialist skills