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Macro Perspectives on Digital Economy

Key information

Subject area:

Stackable Microcredentials


Course type:

Assessed Module


Credit level:

7


Credit value:

30


Duration:

10 weeks


Available course dates:

From: 13 January 2025 To: 28 March 2025
Application deadline: 02 December 2024

From: 28 April 2025 To: 11 July 2025
Application deadline: 17 March 2025

Course overview

With digital technologies becoming central to every aspect of the global economy, and with tech companies dominating the commanding heights of our economies, an understanding of our world today requires grappling with the changes that the digital economy is bringing about. This module aims to give you the skills and knowledge necessary to carry out that task.

We will discuss current issues around the rise of tech companies, with a particular focus on their political economy. Should platforms like Facebook or Google be broken up? Why do companies like Uber and Airbnb tend towards a winner-takes-all model? What role does data play in the current economy and how do we value it? Why is addiction so prominent amongst social media apps? Why are Google and Amazon buying companies that have nothing to do with their core businesses? These types of questions will be examined and set in the context of larger political economy dynamics.

The political economy perspective will also allow us to highlight the role of power in the digital economy, and the ways in which new inequalities of power are emerging between the major platforms and everyone else. You will be given the conceptual tools necessary for explaining these changes and for drawing out the systematic connections across the digital economy.

What does this course cover?

This module will provide a foundational understanding of the digital economy from a macro perspective. It will guide you through the major current debates in the field, as well as discuss the most significant theoretical perspectives. There will be a particular focus on developing critical analysis of the digital economy.

The first half of this module will provide an understanding of key theoretical frameworks, situating them in their historical contexts as well as reflecting on their limits of analysis. This will include theories such as cognitive capitalism, autonomist Marxism, platform capitalism, and vectoralism. You will gain a series of different perspectives on the digital economy and learn how to use these frameworks for your own analyses.

The latter half of the module will turn towards current major debates in the field. This will include discussions of addiction and attention, surveillance capitalism, data colonialism, and issues around competition policy. These are all ongoing debates within policy circles, the media, and academia, and you will be given the tools to adjudicate between different claims and to develop your own perspectives on these topics.

What will I achieve?

At the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • Understand a variety of systemic perspectives on the nature of the digital economy
  • Develop a complex view of how digital technologies are transforming the global economy
  • Identify and deploy key concepts such as platforms, network effects, data valuation, and the cognitariat
  • Deploy the skills necessary for analysing case studies of major tech companies.

Who will I learn with?

Nick Srnicek

Nick Srnicek

Senior Lecturer in Digital Economy

Who is this for?

T​he standard entry requirements comprise:

  • A 2:2 honours degree or international equivalent 
  • A CV and personal statement outlining reasons for study  
  • English language at Band B (IELTS 7.0 overall with a minimum of 6.5 in each skill).

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed via the following:

  • 4,000 word essay = 90%
  • Participation = 10%.

What is the teaching schedule?

This is an online module that includes 4.5 hours of structured material per week. You should expect to spend approximately 20 hours per week on self-directed study.

Further information

This module is offered as part of our flexible master’s awards in Professional Development. The awards are one of the most flexible currently offered in the UK, providing the opportunity to study a range of modules from across King’s, both on-campus and online. Whether you are looking for a promotion or to retrain, you have come to the right place.

Designed for mature professionals juggling life and work commitments, our postgraduate awards will enable you to study at your own pace. In challenging financial times, you are also able to fund your studies module-by-module.

We will support you to select the right module diet that meets your objectives while ensuring that you are well prepared for success. We will also help you to build your professional network of peers from across our suite of CPD modules.

We can’t wait for you to continue your lifelong learning journey here at King’s.

Course status:

Opening soon

Full fee £2078

International students £5543

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