Politics and Society

Beyond the sphere of security there are a multitude of other questions of relevance for understanding the role of digital technologies in foreign and security policy, which relate to the interactions between technology, politics and society. For example the advent of the smartphone has changed the way people use media, which in turn influences opinion-forming processes and political discourse. Certain actors feel threatened by this and respond with initiatives to regulate such technologies. The strength of the interdependencies leads to an extreme opacity of governance, where it is often hard to identify at all who is actually doing the regulating and what effects particular regulatory interventions actually have.

There is also a strong relationship between national and international developments. For example, the Tunisian debates of the “Arab Spring” were amplified and disseminated through social media, with impacts not only in the immediate neighbourhood – such as Morocco and Algeria – but also far afield in China, Gambia, Myanmar and many other countries. Similarly, regional discussions – for example about placing restrictions on the internet – have political effects on debates in quite separate regions and thus ultimately also influence political decisions there. Drawing a clear distinction between national and international politics has becomes more or less impossible.


Ben Wagner

Digital Communications and Social Networks: Pointers from the Arab Uprisings

in: Frederic Volpi / Richard Gillespie (eds.), Routledge Handbook on Mediterranean Politics, London: Routledge
Isabelle Werenfels, Mareike Transfeld

How Twitter can empower opposition forces in authoritarian countries

In: The Washington Post, December 2, 2016 (online)
Mareike Transfeld, Isabelle Werenfels

#HashtagSolidarities: Twitter Debates and Networks in the MENA Region

SWP Research Paper 2016/RP 05, March 2016, 62 Pages
Doreen Khouri

Social Media and the Revolutions

How the Internet Revived the Arab Public Sphere and Digitalized Activism

in: Perspectives no. 2, “People Power: The Arab World in Revolt”, Heinrich Boell Stiftung Magazine, April 2011 (online)
Gudrun Wacker

The Internet and Censorship in China

in: Christopher R. Hughes, Gudrun Wacker (eds.), China and the Internet Politics of the Digital Leap forward London and New York: Routledge Curzon, 2003, pp. 58-82. PDF version from 2002.

SWP Comments

Steffen Angenendt, Nadine Biehler
On the Way to a Global Compact on Refugees

The “Zero Draft”: A Positive, but Not Yet Sufficient Step

Paul Joscha Kohlenberg, Nadine Godehardt
China’s Global Connectivity Politics

On Confidently Dealing with Chinese Initiatives

SWP Research Papers

Susanne Dröge, Harro van Asselt, Kasturi Das, Michael Mehling
Mobilising Trade Policy for Climate Action under the Paris Agreement

Options for the European Union

Marianne Beisheim, Anne Ellersiek
Partnerships for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Transformative, Inclusive and Accountable?