The impact of new information and communications technologies (ICTs), such as the Internet, email and satellite television, on the international arena is an increasingly important area of enquiry in IR. The complexities of these technologies, their impact on political processes and use as a political tool, the power relations which underpin their development and so on are key to transitions in the nature of enquiry in IR. At present, no focal point for intra- and interdisciplinary debate on this issue exists. Scholars working in mainstream IR frequently make reference to the impact of new technologies without making them a focus of inquiry, while existing discursive structures in IR, as in many other disciplines, are struggling to respond to the multi-dimensional characteristics of these phenomena. At the same time an increasing numbers of scholars are probing the issues raised using a variety of theoretical approaches often drawn from other disciplines, only some of which will be relevant to the concerns of IR, however broadly defined. The proposed group will therefore create an opportunity to specifically focus on the impact of ICTs on the theory and practice of IR.
The Working Group aims to address issues relating to the impact of ICTs in three key areas. Firstly, the group will engage with the problems faced in producing appropriate theoretical approaches to analyse this form of communication in an international context. The group aims to address the ways in which ICTs are (or are not) transforming the nature of International Relations as a field of theory and practice. Secondly, the group aims to identify the policy challenges which ICTs present to a range of actors in the international system, and to explore if, and how, processes of political engagement are changing with the use of these technologies. Thirdly, the group will provide a platform for the development of research agendas in this area by promoting both intra-disciplinary reflection and inter-disciplinary exchange. The group will therefore seek to promote the research interests of the growing number of established academics and postgraduate students engaged in developing this area of analysis.
Formed in 2001 by convenors Jayne Rodgers and Robin Brown