Document Type

Theses, Ph.D


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Publication Details

Thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy to Technological University Dublin, School of Media, 2018


This thesis argues for the inclusion of digital civics in twenty first century pedagogy. It presents a model for digital civics pedagogy that formulates a theoretical framework around ethical agency in the infosphere and operationalizes that concept through an action-based project designed to foster the development of critical ethical resources. Explored ethnographically, the findings revealed the presence of an organically occurring system of ethics specific to digital interactions, which I have labelled “virtuel ethics”. This formulation of virtuel ethics included the use of systems similar to Platonic virtue ethics; a focus on self-regulation; thematic interest in the concepts of shame and memory; and a hierarchical emphasis on accessing information through the digital level of abstraction over the physical level of abstraction. The research presents digital civics as essential to preparing students for ethically responsible participation as citizens of a digitally convergent society. Such pedagogy will enable educators to proactively engage digital convergence in an educational context.

This research draws on the philosophy of information, specifically the work of Luciano Floridi (2007), to argue that digital civics must fully comprehend the implications of the digital environment, and consequently an informational ontology, to deliver to students an education that will prepare them for full participation as citizens in the infosphere. Within this framework the research discusses the ethical implications of ontological change in the digital age and the ability of virtue ethics to respond to these implications as a “critical ethical resource” (Ess, 2010a).