Accueil > Mapping Innovation in the Network Society

KEMI 2150A - Mapping Innovation in the Network Society

Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Spring 2017-2018

Number of hours : 12

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

This course will explore the relationship between innovation and organizational forms of society, paying special attention to how new digital technologies shape knowledge production and diffusion, on the one hand, and social relations, on the other hand. More than half a century ago, Joseph Schumpeter defined innovation as “creative destruction” in his analysis of the capitalist economy. Using ideas from sociology, economics, and communication studies, this course will inquire into how Schumpeter's understanding of innovation translates within the current configuration of society, described by Manuel Castells as “network society”, and will address the following questions: What is innovation? Where does it come from? Can anyone do it? What are the promises and the pitfalls of technological development and what does it mean for innovation to develop responsibly? Concepts such as entrepreneurship, networks, connectivity, and sociality will be discussed in this course. Weekly readings are listed in the syllabus and will be added to, or revised, by the instructor


THIEMANN, Alina (postdoctoral researcher, Institute of Sociology, Romanian Academy)

Pedagogical format

Each class will take the format of an introductory lecture by the course instructor, followed by student presentations and class discussion that aim to explore the issues presented in the readings more fully. Students are therefore asked to be prepared and informed to speak, showing that they thought about the issues at stake.

Course validation

60% of the final grade will be based on a research paper (individual work), 30% of the final grade will be based on a 15-minute presentation on the main concepts and ideas in additional readings related to the session's topic and selected together with the class instructor (group work), and 10% of the final grade will be based on ongoing evaluation (in-class participation).


Workload will mainly consist of research and presentations on selected class topics, in-class participation, and preparation of a final written assignment based on a case study, informed by the ideas and approaches of the course.

Required reading

  • Castells, Manuel (2010). The Rise of the Network Society. The Information Age: Economy, Society, and Culture. Volume I. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. Second edition with a new preface.
  • Rogers, Everett M. (2003). Diffusions of Innovations. New York: Free Press. Fifth edition.
  • Schumpeter, Joseph A. (2003 [1943]). Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. London and New York: Routledge.
  • Van Dijk, Jan A.G.M. (2012). The Network Society. Third edition. London: Sage Publications.
  • Von Hippel, Eric (2006). Democratizing Innovation. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.