This list relates to the 2015-16 which ended on 31/07/2016
This list has been archived
  1. Essential Reading 4 items
    There is no textbook prescribed for this course. However, the following books provide a valuable grounding in some of the main topics covered by this course, and students would be recommended to consider purchasing some or all of them if possible.
    1. How the Internet works - Preston Gralla 2007

      Book  part 1, chapters 1-6

  2. Session 1: How the Internet Works and Why 17 items
    In this session, we will discuss what the Internet really is, how it works, and why it works the way it does. The main aim of this session is to equip those who do not already possess the relevant knowledge with some fundamental that will be useful for understanding the rest of the course. However, as will become clear, any attempt to offer a ‘narrow, technical’ discussion of the Internet as a medium necessarily runs up against questions of its social and even ideological meaning.
    1. Questions:

      -        What are the defining properties of the Internet?

      -        What are the implications of these properties?

      -        How far has the design of the Internet been determined by political choices and social context as well as technological evolution?


      Proposition for debate: "We wouldn't have the same Internet today if it hadn't been made in America"

    2. General History 3 items
      1. Inventing the Internet - Janet Abbate 1999 (electronic book)


    3. Packet Switching and All-Channel Networks 1 item
      1. Paul Baran, 'On Distributed Communications Networks' (Santa Monica: RAND, 1962), available online from:

    4. The Internet Protocol and the TCP/IP 2 items
      1. How the Internet works - Preston Gralla, Michael Troller 2007

        Book  Read Part 1, Chapter 3.

    5. The DNS 3 items
      1. The Internet Domain Name System Explained for Non-Experts - Daniel Karrenberg

        Chapter  Chapter available via Google Books.

      2. How the Internet works - Preston Gralla, Michael Troller 2007

        Book  Chapter 5

    6. The World Wide Web 2 items
    7. Cryptography 3 items
      1. Cryptography decrypted - H. X. Mel, Doris M. Baker, Steve Burnett 2001

        Book  Chapter 9 (But chapters 1-6 for useful general background)

    8. Useful Websites 2 items
  3. Session 2: The Internet in IR Theory 19 items
    In this session, we look at the big picture of how advances in information technology - particularly the Internet - are theorized as impacting on the international system. We will examine what conventional IR theories (and some less conventional ones) have to say about the matter. We will also look at a selection of sociologists, philosophers and media theorists who have been influential in the way we think about the political significance of the Internet.
    1. Questions:

      -        How well adapted are the various comtemporary perspectives in IR for understanding the implications of an increasingly 'wired' planet?

      -        Is there some kind of 'essence; to Internet technology which means that it inevitably impacts on society in certain ways?

      -        Does the Internet portent a fundamentally different kind of international order?

      -        Can 'cyberspace' be 'independent'?


      Proposition: 'The revolution in interconnectivity brought about by packet switched communications means that realist theories of international politics are no longer credible'

    2. Broadly Constructivist Perspectives 4 items
    3. Broadly Liberal and Institutionalist Perspectives 3 items
      1. Power and interdependence - Robert O. Keohane, Joseph S. Nye 2001


      2. Networks and states: the global politics of Internet governance - Milton Mueller 2010

        Book  Available in the Library and as an ebook

    4. Broadly Realist Perspectives 2 items
    5. Internet and Media Studies: A Smattering of Relevant and Thought-Provoking Texts 8 items
      1. The bias of communication - Harold Adams Innis 1991

        Book  Introduction by Paul Heyer and David Crowley.

      2. John Perry Barlow, 'A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace', 1996, available online:

      3. The question concerning technology, and other essays - Heidegger, Martin, Lovitt, William 1977

        Book  pp 3–35. Also available online - please see below.

      4. Martin Heidegger, 'The Question Concerning Technology', 1949, available online:

    6. Useful Websites 1 item
  4. Session 3: The Internet Governance Regime 21 items
    In this session, we examine the institutions which 'govern' the Internet at a global level, and what this governance actually entails. We explore why the Internet's governance arrangements are so unusual, and consider whether they provide a template for future forms of global governance or, to the contrary, are becoming progressively normalized within the framework of the international system.
    1. Questions:

      -        How did the present institutional stractures responsible for governing the Internet's name space (notably ICANN) come about?

      -        What issues are really at stake in determining arrangements for governing the Internet's name space?

      -        How significant are the powers wielded by ICANN?

      -        Are institutions like ICANN and the IGF transcient anomalies, or the shape of things to come?

      -        How have emerging concerns about surveillance and data security impacted on the recent history of international Internet governance?


      Proposition: "The less states have to do with running the Internet's namespace, the better".

    2. Historical Background 4 items
      1. Internet governance: the new frontier of global institutions - John Mathiason 2009

        Book  Especially chapters 4, 6 and 7

      2. Ruling the root: Internet governance and the taming of cyberspace - Mueller, Milton 2002 (electronic book)

        Book  Especially chapters 3, 4 and 9

      3. Who controls the Internet?: illusions of a borderless world - Jack L. Goldsmith, Tim Wu 2008

        Book  Chapter 3, pp. 29-48

    3. General Conceptual Overviews 3 items
      1. Don MacLean 'Herding Schroedinger's Cats: Some Conceptual Tools for Thinking About Internet Governance', background paper for the ITU workshop on global governance, Geneva, 26-27th February 2004, available:

    4. The Institutions 6 items
      1. Don MacLean, 'The International Telecommunications Union', Institutional Overviews, available onlin:

      2. The Internet Engineering Task Force - Scott Bradner 1999

        Chapter  available online from

      3. Scott Bradner 'The Internet Engineering Task Force', in O' Reilly (ed). Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution, O'Reilly Associates: Sebastopol, CA. 1999. Also available online from:

    5. After the Snowden Revelations and NetMundial 5 items
      1. Committee on Internet Navigation and the Domain Name System, 'The Domain Name System: Institutional Issues' in Signposts in Cyberspace: The Domain Name System and Internet Navigation, National Research Council, 2005. Available online:

    6. Useful Websites 2 items
  5. Session 4: The Internet and the Sovereign State 21 items
    Not very long ago, it was common to believe that the Internet was inherently invulnerable to state power, and that, as such, it posed a profound challenge not only to authoritarian states, but perhaps even to the post-Westphalian sovereign state as such. Today, such claims are often regarded as naïve: states have developed a panoply of means by which they can exert control over the online activities of their citizens. Increasingly, the question has instead turned to the normative one of how far states are entitled to control their citizens in cyberspace, and what sorts of ‘cyber-rights’ citizens can reasonably expect to enjoy. But perhaps the idea that the Internet has structural features which, over the long haul, may yet turn out to reshape the nature of state power is not quite dead after all…
    1. Questions:

      ·         Does the Internet threaten to eliminate states, or to transform them? If the latter, into what?

      ·         Does the growth of Internet surveillance mean that we are moving into a world like Orwell's 1984? What, if anything, could be done about it?

      ·         Just how effective are the tools that states can use to exert authority in 'cyberspace'? Are they more or less effective than those by which they controlled media in the past?

      ·         Have state boundaries become a 'möbius strip'?


      Proposition: 'Cyber sovereignty is possible. It is also desirable.'

    2. What is State Sovereignty? 2 items
      1. Problematic Sovereignty - Stephen D. Krasner

        Chapter  Available online via Google Books

    3. Problems of Bounding States in 'Cyberspace' 8 items
      1. Cyberspace and the state: toward a strategy for cyber-power - David Betz, Tim Stevens 2011

        Book  especially chapter 2, ‘Cyberspace and sovereignty’

      2. Virtual states: the Internet and the boundaries of the nation state - Everard, Jerry 2000

        Book  chapters 1-2 and 10 Available in library and as e-book.

      3. Who controls the Internet?: illusions of a borderless world - Jack L. Goldsmith, Tim Wu 2008

        Book  Chapters 2, and 4-7

      4. The rise of the network society - Manuel Castells 2000

        Book  Chapters 1, 2, 6 and conclusion

    4. Mechanisms of State Control in Cyberspace 5 items
      1. The net delusion: how not to liberate the world - Evgeny Morozov 2012

        Book  Chapters 5-6.

      2. Code 2.0 - Lawrence Lessig

        Book  part one

      3. Access denied: the practice and policy of global Internet filtering - Ronald Deibert et al. 2008 (electronic book)

        Book  Chapters 1, 3 and 4

      4. Access controlled: the shaping of power, rights, and rule in cyberspace - Ronald Deibert, John G. Palfrey 2010

        Book  Chapters 1, 2 and 5

    5. Surveillance 5 items
      1. CitizenFour 2014

        Audio-visual document  Available online via Box of Broadcasts (log in as a University of St Andrews user). Recording starts at 0:02:10

      2. After Snowden: Rethinking the Impact of Surveillance - Zygmunt Bauman, Didier Bigo, Paulo Esteves, Elspeth Guild 2014


  6. Session 5: Cybercrime 18 items
    Every new technology creates new possibilities for criminals, and new challenges (as well as new capacities) for states. In this session, we examine how far the transformation of old crimes such as credit card fraud, and the emergence of new ones (such as malware distribution) has produced correspondingly new responses from states and the international system. How far do these responses contribute to our understanding of the questions explored in the previous two sessions?
    1. Questions:

      -        To what extent has cybercrime posed a challenge to state control?

      -        How far has the challenge of cybercrime produced innovations in state-cooperation over law enforcement?

      -        Have formal or ad hoc solutions been most effective in policing cybercrime? What are the implications?


      Proposition: 'In essence, so-called "cyber" crime is business as usual'

    2. International Cybercrime Legislation 3 items
    3. Criminology of Cybercrime 2 items
      1. Cybercrime and society - Majid Yar 2013

        Book  Read Chapters 1 and 2

    4. Methods of Cybercrime 3 items
    5. A Selection of Interesting (and Often Entertaining) Accounts of Online Crime 6 items
      The books and articles below are popular journalistic accounts of 'true life cybercime' which offer evocative accounts of particular cases of shady activity online. It is recommended that you read at least one of these.
      1. The dark net: inside the digital underworld - Jamie Bartlett 2015

        Book  Especially chapter 5

    6. Useful Websites 3 items
  7. Session 6: Cyberwar, and Inter-State Conflict in Cyberspace 19 items
    Talk of Cyberwar has been with us for twenty years at least, and yet it is highly contentious as to whether any such thing actually exists. In this session, we will be less concerned with whether cyberwar is literally real, as with whether it possesses political dynamics that are comparable to ‘kinetic’ or ‘hot’ war. Does cyberwar indicate the continuation of the realist paradigm into the world of the Internet? Or is the very possibility of cyberwar itself indicative of a highly interdependent world in which war itself has lost much of its salience and even meaning?
    1. Questions:

      -        Does cyberwar exist? What would it look like if it did?

      -        How important is 'cyberwar' fighting capacity as a component of 'cyber-power'?

      -        Could cyberwar play an equivalent role in the international system to the one realists attribute to other forms of war?


      Proposition: 'There is no such thing as cyberwar'

    2. Readings 15 items
      1. 'W32 Stuxnet Dossier', Symantec Security Response - Nicolas Falliere, Liam O'Murchu, Eric Chien 2011

        Document  Also see online for more recent updates.

      2. Cyber War Will Not Take Place - Thomas Rid 2012


    3. Useful Websites 3 items
  8. Session 7: Cyber ‘terrorism’ – Non-state actors wage ‘cyberwar’ 18 items
    ‘Cyberterrorism’ combines the idea of non-state actors waging war by ‘cyber’ means with (in looser usages) the wider panoply of activities encompassed by ‘use of the Internet for terrorist purposes’. In this unit, we examine the complex of issues raised by use of the Internet as a tool by groups such as Al Qaeda, the spread of ‘violent extremism’ online, and the emergence of hacktivist groups using online disruption as a repertoire of contentious action.
    1. Questions:

      -        How far has the Internet really created new opportunities for terrorist groups? Is it a double-edged sword?

      -        What might be meant by 'terror on the Internet'? Can the notion be reconciled with the fact idea that terrorism is a distinct form of action, not a form of belief?

      -        How close does the 'hacktivism' of movements like Anonymous come to anything we might want to describe as 'terrorism'?


      Proposition: 'Internet access has been a game-changer for terrorists'

    2. Classic Cyberterrorism 4 items
    3. Uses of the Internet by Terrorists 4 items
      1. The World of Holy Warcraft - Jarret Brachman, Alex Levine


      2. Global Terrorism and New Media: the Post-Al Qaeda Generation - Philip Seib, Dana M. Janbek 2010 (electronic resource)


      3. Terrorist Financing and the Internet - Michael Jacobson 2010


    4. Jihadists and other Extremists Online 4 items
      1. Al-Qa'ida's Virtual Crisis - Akil N Awan, Mina Al-Lami 2009


    5. Hactivism 2 items
    6. Useful Websites 3 items
  9. Session 8: The Internet and Transnational Activism 19 items
    If the Internet may have given new opportunities to so-called ‘dark networks’ like those maintained by terrorists, hate groups and secretive hacktivists, it has much more obviously opened up new opportunities for peaceful political activism. However, disaggregating the effect of the Internet from broader processes of the globalization of civil society, and determining how far global activist networks have really become a significant force in the world system is more challenging.
    1. Questions:

      -        How, if at all, has the Internet transformed political activism? If it has, what do activists have to show for it?

      -        Does the mobilization of global political movements point towards a fundamentally different way of doing politics?

      -        How far is the emergence of Internet-facilitated political movements the antithesis of the endurance of old-fashioned state power in the contemporary era?


      Proposition: 'Thanks to communications technology, transnational protest is now a significant power on the world stage'

    2. Transnational Activism 5 items
      1. Introducing Global Civil Society - Helmut Anheier, Marlies Glasius, Mary Kaldor 2003

        Chapter  chapter available online from:

      2. The new transnational activism - Sidney G. Tarrow 2005


    3. The Net as a Facilitator (or not) of Protest 8 items
      1. The net delusion: how not to liberate the world - Evgeny Morozov 2012

        Book  Chapters 7-8

      2. Cyberprotest: new media, citizens, and social movements - Wim B. H. J. van de Donk, Peter Dahlgren 2004


      3. The Logic of Connective Action - W. Lance Bennett, Alexandra Segerberg 2012


    4. 'Netwar' 3 items
      1. The Zapatista Social Netwar in Mexico - David Ronfeldt, John Arquilla, Graham E. Fuller, Melissa Fullen 1998


      2. Scale Shift in Transatlantic Contention - Sidney Tarrow, Doug McAdam


    5. Useful Websites 2 items
  10. Session 9: The Internet in the Arab World 24 items
    In this session, we focus on the case of the Arab Middle East as a way of examining the transformative potential (or otherwise) of the Internet in a developing region characterised by authoritarian government. The apparent failure of supposedly game changing technologies of the past (notably satellite television) to realize its democratizing promise bred a certain cynicism about the potential for changes in the media environment to open Middle Eastern regimes. The spectacular example of the Arab Spring revolutions appeared to swing the pendulum in the opposite direction. Where do things stand today?
    1. Questions:

      -        How important was the Internet in making possible the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions?     What has been the significance of the deluge of video footage from the Syrian civil war?

      -        Has the durability of authoritarianism in much of the Middle East, in the face of rapidly expanding Internet uptake given the lie to the idea that increasing media freedoms and democratization must go hand in hand?

      -        To what extent have some Arab regimes (e.g. Saudi Arabia) succeeded in building their own distinctive version of the Internet?


      Proposition: "Access of a growing proportion of the population to the Internet has made no discernible difference to how politics is conducted in the Middle East."

    2. Background 3 items
    3. The Arab Spring Revolutions 9 items
      1. The Arab Spring and the Role of ICTs - Ilhem Allagui, Johanne Kuebler 2011

        Article  Also At:

      2. The Role of Digital Media - Philip N. Howard, Muzammil M. Hussain 2011

        Article  Under the heading 'The upheavals in Egypt and Tunisia'

      3. Democracy's fourth wave?: digital media and the Arab Spring - Philip N. Howard, Muzammil M. Hussain 2013 (electronic book)


      4. Revolution 2.0: a memoir - Wael Ghonim 2012


    4. Saudi Arabia 4 items
      1. Gilbert Ramsay and Sumayah Fatani, 'The New Arab Nationalism of the New Saudi Media', in Noha Mellor (ed) Cyber Islam (forthcoming).

    5. Useful Websites (a very small and partial selection!) 5 items
      1. General Portals 2 items
      2. Egypt 3 items
    6. Saudi Arabia 1 item
    7. Tunisia 1 item
  11. Session 10: Social Control in Online Environments: Virtuality, Surveillance and Big Data 17 items
    In this session we once again step back to look at the big picture of the Internet, its implications for humanity, and its possible futures. In particular we consider the notion of virtuality and virtual worlds – can we meaningfully speak of virtual worlds as having real politics? Under what circumstances? We also consider the emerging power of ‘big data’. Given the potential of technology to transform the world and our understanding of it, which human values remain constant? How do we recognize them amidst their ersatz equivalents?
    1. Questions: 

      -        Is the 'real world' coming to resemble 'virtual' worlds in certain respects?

      -        Are vast disparities in terms of the amount of information available to different actors problematic, even if the information collected has been freely and openlu sourced?   

      -        Is the Internet and increasingly closed and restricted environment?



      Proposition: "Rapid advances in information technology are making the future an increasingly scary place"

    2. Virtual Communities and Virtual Worlds 7 items
      1. Code 2.0 - Lawrence Lessig

        Website  Chapter 2

    3. Big Data, Big Business and Its Possible Downsides 5 items
      1. Who owns the future? - Jaron Lanier 2014


      2. Big data: a revolution that will transform how we live, work and think - Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, Kenneth Cukier 2013


    4. New Media, and it's Cultural and Social Consequences 4 items
      1. The language of new media - Lev Manovich 2001


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