Global Opportunities

PHI3006 : The Networked Society: Human Identity and Practices

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module introduces students to “narratives of modernity”. Part One focuses on “theories of identity and selfhood”, and explores ways in which self and self-understanding are being conceived against contexts provided by consumerism, the ‘network society’, information technologies, risk and the challenge faced by postmodern ethics. Part Two focuses on modernity, rationality, art and power, and explores the work of Adorno, Benjamin and Habermas.

The module provides an advanced introduction to key themes underpinning narratives about modernity.

Outline Of Syllabus

In Part One, theories of self-identity, agency and the body will be explored. At the present time we are witnessing radical transformations in the structures of contemporary societies, transformations which may reflect a crucial break with the more recent past. Societies like our own are rapidly becoming dominated by the "technological economic paradigm” and arguably this will have far reaching consequences for us all. In this course we will be examining the effects of "new information technologies", the rise of the "network society", and what it means to talk about the "risk society". These new structural realities raise vital questions for discussions about "human identity" and the "human condition" today. Identity is now being worked out at the interface between the vast instrumental logic of global network economies and the search for personal meaning and sense of intrinsic value in human life.

In Part Two, the work of German thinkers Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin, and Juergen Habermas will be explored. Concepts of reason, rationality, art and culture, enlightenment and irrationalism will be explored through these thinkers’ seminal contributions to philosophy and social theory.

In this module we will see how our very ways of life, our cultural values, aspirations, sense of justice and empowerment, employment patterns and life-chances, perceptions about taste and what it means to possess an identity of one's own, will be affected by the radical structural changes outlined above.

Identity and Self in Nietzsche
Identity and social interaction – Charles Taylor
Narrative and Self – MacIntyre
Reflexive Modernization - Giddens
Identity and Reflexive Modernization
Knowledge Economy and Network Society
Self and Fragmentation – Resistance Identity
Postmodern Ethics - Bauman
The Body: Resistance and tatoos.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion140:0040:00Essay preparation and completion
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture201:0020:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities201:0020:00Specific research or reading activities developed and directed by academic staff
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching201:0020:00Tutorials
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1100:00100:00Review lecture material, prepare for small group teaching and assessment
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures provide students with a systematic account of the concepts and ideas of the treated thinkers and their relationship to key aspects of life, e.g. work, relationships, identity formation, ethics, science.

Seminars will provide the opportunity for students to discuss and explore lecture material in greater depth. Seminars will also facilitate skill in approaching and selecting material for essays.

Students will utilize the reading list in order to allow for fruitful seminar discussion. Reading is undertaken in private study time, as is essay preparation.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A502000 word essay
Essay2A502000 word essay
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Essays will demonstrate the students’ abilities to gather, interpret and critically assess information from a range of sources. The essays test students’ ability to think creatively, self-critically and independently as well as managing one’s own work to set time limits. This assessment method also gauges the students’ ability to move between generalization and appropriately detailed discussion, to cite relevant texts and interpret them adequately, to discover examples in support of a position, and to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant considerations.

Reading Lists