Teaching Interests

Professor William H. Dutton is most interested in the social and political shaping of the Internet and related ICTs, and the implications of the use of the Internet in government, organizations and everyday life. He would welcome working with students who have a background in theories and methods within the social sciences, but he has experience working in multidisciplinary teams with computer scientists and legal scholars. Topics of his current research include:
•    Digital divides and digital choices in how individuals use or do not use the Internet in ways that shape their access to information, people, services and technologies, such as in studies of online gambling, online dating, access to heath information or news;
•    Factors that shape individuals choices and strategies in the use of the Internet, such as why they trust the Internet, and why they use it for some functions and not others;
•    The role of the Internet in liberal democracies, such as issues surrounding e-Government and e-Democracy, but particularly focused on the emergence of what he has called a 5th Estate;
•    Research on the role of the Internet in political campaigns and movements, most recently with respect to counter-radicalization efforts across the world;
•    Study of phenomena surrounding the so-called ‘wisdom of crowds’, particularly the empirical study of  ‘Collaborative Network Organizations’;
•    How the Internet might reshape content production and consumption, including its geography;
•    The use and impact of the Internet and related ICTs in research across the disciplines – sometimes called e-Research, particularly the ethical, social and institutional issues tied to these developments and their application to such areas as visualization;
•    The social shaping of the Internet and other large scale technical systems, often viewed from the perspective of an ‘ecology of games’;
•    Public policy issues and political aspects of policy-making in relation to the Internet, particularly in relation to the politics of Internet governance.

Courses Taught at the Post-Graduate Level at the University of Oxford

‘The Internet and Social Research Methods’ with OII Colleagues

‘Interdisciplinary Analysis of the Information Society’ with Manuel Castells
Major Courses Taught at USC


  • Learning from Case Studies in Communication (COM 303)
  • Social and Economic Implications of Technology (COM 345)

Master’s and Ph.D. Courses

  • Communication Management Pro-Seminar (COM 501)
  • Social Dynamics of Communication Technology (COM 530)
  • Emerging Technologies (COM 533)
  • Communication Policy: Global and Comparative Perspectives (COM 557)
  • Communication Technology and Social Change (COM 630)

Elected Positions at USC

  • Academic Vice President, USC Academic Senate (1999-2000)
  • President of the Faculty (2000-2001)

Related Sites at USC