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FutureLearn Why We Post: the Anthropology of Social Media Course - UCL (University College London)

Why We Post: the Anthropology of Social Media Course - UCL (University College London)

Online United Kingdom

5 Weeks


Part time

USD 59 / per course *

Distance Learning

* you can learn it for free or upgrade the course and have extra benefits for $59


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Discover the varying uses of social media around the world and its consequences for politics, relationships and everyday life.

Why join the course?

This free online course is based on the work of nine anthropologists who each spent 15 months in fieldsites in Brazil, Chile, industrial and rural China, England, India, Italy, Trinidad and Turkey.

What are the consequences of social media?

The course offers a new definition of social media which concentrates on the content posted, not just the capabilities of platforms. It examines the increasing importance of images in communication and the reasons why people post memes, selfies and photographs.

Over five weeks you will explore the impact of social media on a wide range of topics including politics, education, gender, commerce, privacy and equality. You will come to understand how the consequences of social media vary from region to region.

Take a comparative and anthropological approach to social media

The course will be taught by the same nine anthropologists who carried out the original fieldwork and who are publishing eleven books based on this research.

You will meet many of our informants through our films, engage with our team through video discussions and lectures, and encounter our ideas through animations, infographics and text.

Adopting an anthropological and comparative approach, we strive to understand not only how social media has changed the world, but how the world has changed social media.

Translations of this course can be found on UCLeXtend in the following languages: Chinese, Italian, Hindi, Portuguese, Spanish, Tamil and Turkish.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to

  • Apply critical thinking to a range of cross-cultural qualitative and quantitative evidence.
  • Assess social media from an anthropological perspective and conduct mini-research projects.
  • Compare one's own perspective on social media to those from other cultural backgrounds.

Who will you learn with?

Daniel Miller

Daniel Miller is a Professor of Anthropology at University College London. He developed the Digital Anthropology programme at UCL. @DannyAnth

Elisabetta Costa

Elisabetta Costa is a postdoctoral research fellow at the British Institute at Ankara. She is an anthropologist specialising in the study of media and digital media in Turkey and the Middle East.

Jolynna Sinanan

Vice Chancellor's Research Fellow at the Digital Ethnography Research Centre and the School of Media and Communications at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia.

Juliano Spyer

I am currently finishing my PhD in anthropology, studying social media.

Laura Haapio-Kirk

I am a PhD student at UCL Anthropology studying smartphones and ageing in Japan and a public engagement fellow on the Why We Post project.

Nell Haynes

I am a postdoctoral researcher in anthropology.

Shriram Venkatraman

PhD scholar at the Dept. of Anthropology, University College London. Anthropologist/Statistician. Research Interests: Technologies in Workplace, Org Culture & Entrepreneurship.

Tom McDonald

I'm an Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology, The University of Hong Kong. Member of the UCL Why We Post team.

Xinyuan Wang

PhD candidate at the Dept. of Anthropology at UCL. An artist in Chinese traditional painting and calligraphy.

Razvan Nicolescu

I am an Honorary Research Associate at the Department of Anthropology, UCL.

Who developed the course?

UCL (University College London)

UCL was founded in 1826. It was the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, and the first to open up university education to those previously excluded from it.


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