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Russia in the Digital Age (Module)

Module description

Russian Internet, also known as Runet, plays a significant role in development of Russia over last 20 years. On the one hand, Runet can be considered as a mirror that reflects social, cultural and political processes in Russia. On the other hand, Runet presents a social, cultural and political space that generates new type of culture, politics and social relations, and makes a significant impact on the offline dimension. The Runet can be also considered as a space for manifestation of relation of power between alternative social, cultural and political actors that seek to preserve Runet’s independence and the traditional institutional actors that seek to take the online space under their control and implement regime of sovereignty over Runet.

The purpose of the module is to follow the main issues and trajectories in development of Runet in order to explore the Russian contemporary society. Through investigation of specific case studies, the module contributes to understanding of the role of innovation and information technologies in triggering social, political and cultural changes. For that purpose, the module pays a special attention to the Runet as an underground alternative space, as a space that introduce new type of elites and new trends which play a substantial role in the offline everyday life.

The module begins by providing a theoretical basis for investigation of the role of the Internet in cultural and socio-political development, looking at the concepts of Internet imaginaries, network society and participatory cultures.  Relying on these concepts the module will present an introductory overview of the history of Runet. From there, the module will look in-depth at 4 spaces of the Russian contemporary society: social space, cultural space, media space and political space. The module will close by bringing all four spaces together to form a comparative conclusion about the role of the Internet in a contemporary Russian society.

*Please note that although all module information is correct for the 2018/19 academic year, it is subject to change for future academic years.

Staff information

Dr Gregory Asmolov

Teaching pattern

One hour lecture, one hour seminar over ten weeks 

Module assessment - more information

1x 2,000-word theoretical framework essay (30%); 1x 3,500-word structured case essay (60%); Class participation (10%)

Key information

Module code 6YYR0001

Credit level 6

Assessment coursework

Credit value 15

Semester Semester 1 (autumn)

Study abroad module Yes