Sociology & Politics of the Internet

Courses in foreign languages at the Faculty

Klaus Muller

ECTS: 6
Semester: fall

Key words:

Sociology & Politics of the Internet (print)

Course description:

The course introduces into the role of the internet in the process of globalization. Is the internet undermining the territorial integrity and the sovereignty of state? Has the world become borderless? Are there rules or even laws, which keep online activities under control? Do we see a new form of global governance, namely the governance of the cyberspace? Or are we exposed to new forms of surveillance and control which are subverting freedom and privacy? Has ‘information warfare’, as announced by Hilary Clinton, opened new fronts of interstate confrontation? What are the implications of global surveillance schemes like PRISM. Are there new chances of ‘cyber-resistance’?

Literature:

Schedule of Topics and Readings

Readings will be made available via Dropbox

Session 1: Introduction. Visions of the Internet Age

Ohmae, Kenichi 2007: The Next Global Stage. Challenges & Opportunities in Our Borderless World, New Jersey: Wharton School Publishing, 18-25; Ch. 7.

Choucri, Nazli 2012: Cyberpolitics in International Relations. Cambr./Mass.: MIT, Ch. 3.

Session 2: The ‘Internet Revolution’

Mozorov, Evgeny 2011: The Net Delusion. The Dark Side of Internet Freedom. New York: Public Affairs, 1-55.

Session 3: The Invention of Cyberspace – Freedom Without Borders!/?

Goldsmith, Jack & Wu, Tim 2006: Who Controls the Internet? Illusions of a Borderless World, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 13-45

Session 4: Geography Matters. State Control and Intellectual Property Rights

Goldsmith, Jack & Wu, Tim 2006: Who Controls the Internet? Illusions of a Borderless World, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 49-128

Session 5: Bringing the State Back In: Government Control and Governmental Coercion

Goldsmith, Jack & Wu, Tim 2006: Who Controls the Internet? Illusions of a Borderless World, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 130-185.

Session 6: Cyberterrorism and Cyberwar

Maura Conway 2007: Terrorist Use of the Internet and the Challenges of Governing Cyberspace, in Cavelti, Myriam D. et al. 2007: Power and Security in the Information Age. Investigating the Role of the State in Cyberspace, Aldershot: Ashgate, 95-127.

Fuchs, Carsten 2008: Internet & Society. Social Theory in the Information Age, London: Routledge, 246-266.

Session 7: The Governance of the Cyberspace

Myriam, D. Cavelty 2007: Is Anything Ever New? – Exploring the Specificities of Security and Governance in the Information Age, in Cavelti, Myriam D. et al. 2007: Power and Security in the Information Age. Investigating the Role of the State in Cyberspace, Aldershot: Ashgate, 19-43.

Session 8: Cyberspace and the Sovereignty of States

Herrera, Geoffrey 2007: Cyberspace and Sovereignty: Thoughts on Physical Space and Digital Space, in Cavelti, Myriam D. et al. 2007: Power and Security in the Information Age. Investigating the Role of the State in Cyberspace, Aldershot: Ashgate, 67-93.

Literature will be provided as PDF-files on the website of the faculty.

Additional Literature (for essays):

Brousseau, Eric et al. eds. 2012: Governance, Regulations and Powers on the Internet. Cambridge: CUP

Chadwick, Andrew & Howard, Philip eds. 2009: Routledge Handbook of Internet Politics, London: Routledge

Hindman, Matthew 2009: The Myth of Digital Democracy, Princeton: Princeton University Press

Madar, Chase The Passion of Bradley Manning. The Story of the Suspect Behind the Largest Security Breach in U.S. History, New York: OR Books.

Grading system:

All participantsare expected to read the assigned literature in advance of the sessionsand to contribute to thediscussions. Participation is obligatory.

Presentation(15 to 20 minutes): students form groups to prepare a specific session (starting with session 2). The presentations (short outlines of 1-2 pages to be distributed) should sketch the main theses of the specified readings, identify different opinions on the topic under discussion, raise questions and/or articulate problems of understanding. Personal statements are especially welcome. Connections to earlier sessions should be pointed out. The discussion will take the form of a conversation between the group, the plenum and the instructor.

Essays- due date: according the general policy of the faculty.All written essays should be submitted directly to me (or via e-mail). Topics have to be chosen from the schedule and should refer to the proposed literature. Written assignments are due on the date stipulated and it is not our policy to grant extensions except for illness or equivalent reasons. Length of Essays: 2nd and 3rd year students 8-10 pp.; post-graduates 10-12 pp.

Each students has to indicate her/his chosen topic before November 3rd (via e-mail)

Plagiarism is an extremely serious academic offence. Written work from students which is not original in conception, organization and phrasing will not be accepted. The borrowing of material from other sources, whether in the form of direct quotation or paraphrasing, must be acknowledged. Direct quotations must be identified with quotation marks and referenced. When you follow someone's ideas closely, or when you use specific information from a primary source (e.g., a government document) or a secondary source (e.g., a book or journal article), the source must be referenced. Failure to make such acknowledgement will make written work ineligible for grading. Serious offences will result in a grade of zero.

Evaluation                 

- Presentation:25%
- Discussion:25%
- Essay:50%

Comments:

a regular course held at the FH