module specification

SS4019 - Knowledge, Culture and Technics (2018/19)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2018/19
Module title Knowledge, Culture and Technics
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Professions
Total study hours 300
210 hours Guided independent study
90 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 40%   1500 word essay
Coursework 20%   Short reflection (750 words in total)
Coursework 40%   1250 word essay
Running in 2018/19
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North - -

Module summary

This module explores a number of important questions about the relationship between knowledge, society and technology, and begins to think about how our ideas about each of these contribute to an understanding of what education means and what should be found in the curriculum.

The module aims:
• To present a range of arguments and tools that can be used to describe and analyse educational ideas as a socio-cultural construction;
• To identify ways in which knowledge is produced, reproduced and transmitted, and to explore the changing role of schooling within this;
• To offer an introduction to the historical and contemporary role of ‘knowledge technologies’ in transforming the meaning of core notions including: what is meant by knowledge, learning, cultural memory and communication as well as the challenges of sustainability;
• To think about educational futures and to explore different educational scenarios.


The module content is divided into five blocks, which all address a specific question. These blocks are as follows:

• Block 1: What do we mean by culture? LO1

• Block 2: What counts as knowledge and why do we educate? LO1,LO2

• Block 3: How does representation construct knowledge? LO2,LO3

• Block 4: Will new media technologies transform knowledge and education? LO4

• Block 5: Does the Anthropocene have a future? LO4


Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Learning in this module is transacted through a combination of lectures, seminar discussions and workshops as well as independent (but guided) study and reading.

Selected key readings are available to students via the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Students are expected to read in advance of classroom sessions and to regularly reflect on their reading via online tasks and discussions.

Regular feedback (formal and informal) on assessment tasks is provided to enhance students’ learning.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:
1. Demonstrate a capacity for critical reflection on how ideas about education are created and re-created within socio-cultural frameworks;
2. Use specific examples to demonstrate that educational ideas are socially constructed and therefore that what is presented in a curriculum represents selections from the knowledge available at a particular moment in time and in a particular place;
3. Identify and describe technologies with which knowledge is created, represented, stored and transmitted including mathematics, the printed word, cartography, and visual and digital media;
4. Discuss implications of technological change as well as the challenges of sustainability in relation to learning and teaching and for humanity as a whole.

Assessment strategy

Three items of coursework:
1. A 1500 word essay on the meaning and purpose of education. Students are expected to draw on theories of culture and ideological frameworks of education (Block 1 & 2) – 40%.
2. One short reflection (750 words in total) on a selected knowledge technology discussed in Block 3 exploring its impact on society/culture, including three visual representations related to the chosen knowledge technology – 20%.
3. A 1250 word essay exploring technological change and the future of humankind drawing on theories and concepts discussed in Block 4 & 5 – 40%.


Core texts

Althusser, L. (1984). Essays on ideology. London: Verso.

Ball, S. J. (2008). The education debate. London: Routledge.

Burr, V. (1995). An introduction to social constructionism. London: Routledge.

Burr, V. (2003, 2nd Edition). Social constructionism. East Sussex, New York: Routledge.

Castells, M. (2000). The rise of the network society. Oxford: Blackwell.

Duncan, J. & Ley, D. (eds.) (1993). Place/culture/representation. London: Routledge.

Foucault, M. (1994). The subject and power. In: Faubion, J. (eds) Michel Foucault, Power: Essential Works of Foucault 1954-1984. London: Penguin Books, 326-365.

Foucault, M. (1987). The order of discourse. In: Young, R. (eds.) Untying the text: A post-structuralist reader. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 48-78.

Hall, S. (2003). Representation: Cultural representations and signifying practices. London: Sage.

Harari, Y. N. (2015). Sapiens: A brief history of humankind. New York: Harper Collins.

McLuhan, M. (2005) The medium is the message. Corte Madera CA: Ginko Press.

Mumford, L. (1967). The myth of the machine: Technics and human development. New York: Harcourt, Brace & Jovanovich.

Sagan, C. (1994). Pale blue dot: A vision of the human future in space. London: Ballantine Books.

Vince, G. (2014). Adventures in the anthropocene: A journey to the heart of the planet we made. London: Chatto and Windus.

Williams, R. (2011). Culture is ordinary. In: Szeman, I. & Kaposy, T. (eds.) Cultural theory: An anthology. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 53-59.

Additional texts

Armstrong, P. (2014). The discourse of Michel Foucault. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 27, 29-42.

Atherton, M. (eds.) (1999). The empiricists: Critical essays on Locke, Berkeley and Hume. New York: Rowman and Littlefield.

Bishop, A. J. (1979). Visualising and mathematics in a pre-technological culture. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 10(2), 135-146.

Bishop, A. (2012). Mathematical enculturation: A cultural perspective on mathematics in education. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Castells, M. (2009). Communication power. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Dreyfus, H. & Rabinow, P. (1983). Michel Foucault: Beyond structuralism and hermeneutics. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

Duncan, J. S. & Barnes, T. J. (eds.) (1992). Writing worlds: Discourse, text and metaphor in the representation of landscape. London: Routledge.

During, S. (1993). The cultural studies reader. London: Routledge.

Durkheim, E. (1956). Education and sociology. New York: The Free Press.

Dusek, V. (2006). Philosophy of technology: An introduction. Malden MA: Oxford Blackwell Publishers.

Emmott, S. (2013). 10 Billion. London: Penguin.

Faith, N. (1990). The world the railways made. London: Bodley Head.

Foucault, M. (2005). The order of things. London: Taylor & Francis.

Foucault, M. (1986). Of other spaces. Diacritics, 16, 22-27.

Hall, S. (2001). Foucault: Power, knowledge and discourse. In: Wetherell, M., Taylor, S. & Yates, S. (eds.) Discourse, theory and practice: A reader. London: Sage, 72-81.

Harari, Y. N. (2016). Homo deus: A brief history of tomorrow. London: Harvill Secker.

Harley, J.B. & Laxton, P. (2002). The new nature of maps: Essays in the history of cartography. Baltimore MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Hassan, R. (2008). The information society. Cambridge: Polity.

Illich, I. & Sanders, B. (1988). ABC: The alphabetization of the popular mind. London : Marion Boyars.

Kuhn, T. S. (1996). The structure of scientific revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Loringer, S. (1996). Foucault live: Collected interviews 1961-1984. New York: Semiotext.

Loringer, S. & Hochrith, L., (1997). The politics of truth. New York: Semiotext.

Lovelock, J. (2000). Gaia: A new look at life on earth. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Millet, D. (2013). Anthropocene: The age of man. London: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Mumford, L. (1995). The monastery and the clock. In: The human prospect. Boston MA: Beacon Press, 3-10.

Oswell, D., (2006). Culture and society: An introduction to cultural studies. London: Sage.

Pearce, F., (2006). The last generation: How nature will take her revenge for climate change. London: Transworld Publishers.

Scharff, R. C. & Dusek, V. (2006, 2nd Edition). Philosophy of technology: The technological condition, an anthology. London: Blackwell Publishing.

Schellnhuber, H. J., Crutzen, P. J., Clark, W. L., Claussen, M. & Held, H. (2004). Earth system analysis for sustainability. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.

Seery, A., (2010). Education, the formation of self and the world of Web 2.0. London Review of Education, 8(1,), 63-73.

Steger, M. B. (2003). Globalization: A very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Vincent, A., (1999). Modern political ideas. London: Wiley.

Young, M. F. D. (2008). Bringing knowledge back in: From social constructivism to social realism in the sociology of education. London: Routledge.

Young, R. (1981). Untying the text: A post-structuralist reader. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Wetherell, M., Taylor, S. & Yates, S. (eds.) (2004). Discourse, theory and practice: A reader. London: Sage.

Williams, R. (1976). Keywords: A vocabulary of culture and society. London: Fontana Press.

Winch, C. & Gingell, J. (1999). Key concepts in the philosophy of education. London: Routledge.