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Unit information: Digital Economy and Society in 2021/22

Unit name Digital Economy and Society
Unit code SOCIM0031
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Sveta Milyaeva
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

The rise of digital technologies inevitably shapes the economy. This unit will examine a range of aspects of digital economic life and some of the issues they raise for social theory. The digitalisation of the economy and markets prompts the question of the extent to which social processes, groups, institutional structures and culture remain significant in an apparently virtual domain. The unit will demonstrate that social economic relations and market transactions do not lose their social-ness with moving to the digital domain. Rather, the technologies manifest and communicate the social in markets in distinctive ways. The unit will reflect on this through considering the notions of economic action and value, digital labour, presumption, platform capitalism, market devices, the processes of digital market innovation, the automation of finance and the role of algorithms, collaborative and hybrid forms of economic exchanges, ownership and possession of virtual goods.


  • To outline key theoretical and methodological debates around digital economy
  • To facilitate a critical engagement with the range of the digital economic phenomena
  • To enable an analytical approach to various aspects of digital economic life to stimulate a critical awareness of their repercussions for the society.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, students will be able to demonstrate via the unit assessments:

  • Understanding of the role of technology and how it shapes the economy;
  • An ability to identify a set of key analytic concerns with regard to the digital mode of the economy
  • An ability to critically engage with the current debates and issues related to digital economy and society

A capacity to take theoretical ideas outlined in the unit and apply them in student-led explorations, especially empirical explorations of various digital markets

Teaching Information

The unit will be taught through blended learning methods, including a mix of synchronous and asynchronous teaching activities

Assessment Information

Two pieces of assessment:

Summative assessment 1 (20%) - Group presentations: student-led case studies: empirical material (e.g. examples of markets) that have not yet been 'packaged' by academics to produce a set of theoretical questions about (assesses ILO 4)

Summative assessment 2 (80%) - 3,500 word essay (assesses ILOs 1-3) The summative essay will allow for assessment of students' ability to meet the Intended Learning Outcomes 1-4 by requiring students to develop an in-depth essay argument over a length of 3,500 words that draws upon relevant readings, materials and debates covered in the unit.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. SOCIM0031).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.