Theorising the Digital: Exploring Foundational Debates

Third-cycle level | 15.0 credits | Course code: IT00022

Course description

This is a PhD-level course articulated around key debates on digital technologies in the fields of Information Systems, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), and Learning, Communication, and IT (LCIT). What affects technological design and use, its organisation, social relations, and imaginaries? For each topic, we discuss original papers’ contributions to a debate and how contemporary ones build on and diverge from them.

The objective of the course is twofold. Firstly, students will develop knowledge of foundational topics and theories influential in understanding technologies and the digital. The course covers five topics: (1) institutions, (2) artefacts, data and the digital object, (3) practice, (4) systems and assemblages, and finally, (5) design. Secondly, the course will engage students with a number of generic academic skills such as presenting and summarising papers, critiquing and arguing for theories and their application to digital technologies, and disseminating academic knowledge beyond academia.

Requirements and Selection

Entry requirements

Applicants should be enrolled as PhD students. All students are required to be fluent English speakers and writers at an academic level.


We accept a maximum of 20 students. Applicants are evaluated on the match between thesis focus and course content. For comparable merits, priority is given to:

1. PhD students enrolled at Department of Applied Information Technology at the University of Gothenburg or at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Gothenburg or Chalmers University of Technology;

2. PhD students at SCDI member institutions (GU, UU, HHS);

3. PhD students enrolled at another faculty at the University of Gothenburg or another university in Sweden;

4. PhD students enrolled at a university outside Sweden

Other information

Types of instruction

Instruction takes the form of seminars and panels with experts on a given topic. Most of the instruction is done at the group level, with groups rotating tasks for every topic. The individual assignments consist of a hot take reflection on each of the topics’ readings and an end-of-course paper writing and participation in a simulation of a conference review process.

Types of assessment

This course is assessed through recurring tasks for every topic. There are two recurring tasks for every topic, one individual and another to be completed as part of a group. The individual task is a ‘hot-take’ on a number of readings for the current topic. The other is to complete one group task per topic. Participation in seminars and panels is mandatory for completing the course.

Course syllabus



Department of Applied Information Technology



Type of course

Subject area course


Information Systems, Digitalisation, Digital innovation, Human-Computer Interaction, Learning communication and IT, IT

CONTACTJuho Lindman