ASTK15733U CANCELLED - COURSE: IR 2.0: Understanding International Politics in the Age of Social Media

Volume 2017/2018

Elective for Security Risk Management


In the last decade, social media- understood as web services which facilitate the exchange of user generated content- have become an integral part of the everyday experience, remediating social relations both locally and globally. This techno-social revolution have profound implications for the conduct of international relations, ranging from state diplomacy to transnational civil society organizations and the security practices of intelligence services. Nonetheless, until recently, these developments have been largely ignored by the academic discipline of IR. In the last few years however this began to change that this course will introduce the students to the latest cutting-edge academic debates within IR, concerned with the implication of social media for international relations, focusing on emerging international practices such as digital diplomacy. Engaging the students in theoretical and empirical debates, the course will thus attempt to make sense of the way in which contemporary international relations are mediated through Social Media and the ways in which it reshapes the international political terrain.

Learning Outcome

For this purpose, the course shall:

1. introduce students to the basic concepts, themes and methodologies in Social Media research,

2. discuss the heterogeneous ways in which Social Media affects the various international practices such as security and diplomacy,

3. and apply these insights to empiric cases.


Upon completion, the students will be expected to:

  1. Describe the key concepts and theories in Social Media research and their relevance for IR.
  2. Critically reflect upon the strength and weaknesses of these theories and concepts.
  3. Apply these insights onto concrete cases.


The competencies acquired:

  • This course enhances the students’ ability to understand the emerging logic of contemporary international interactions on Social Media, and will be useful for students who aim at careers both in the public and private sectors, engaging with global affairs. 

Preliminary reading list:


Diebert, J. (1997) Parchment, Printing, and Hypermedia: Communication in World Order Transformation Colombia University Press, p.1-15


O’Reily, T. (2012) “What Is Web 2.0? Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software”, in Mandiberg, M. (ed.) The Social Media Reader New York University Press: New York.


Kaplan, A and M. Haenlein (2010) “Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media” Business Horizons 53: 59-68.


Shirky, C. (2011) “The Political Power of Social Media: Technology, The Public Sphere, and The Political Change” Foreign Affairs 90(1).


Bakardjieva, M. (2009) “Subactivism: Lifeworld and Politics in the Age of the Internet” The Information Society 25: 91-104.


Morozov, E. (2011) The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom Public Affairs: New York. p. ix-xvii; 179-203


Dean (2005) “Communicative Capitalism: Circulation and the Foreclosure of Politics” Cultural Politics 1(1):51-74.


Constantinou, C.M. and Der Derian, J. (2010) ‘Introduction: Sustaining Global Hope: Sovereignty, Power and the Transformation of Diplomacy’, in Constantinou, C.M. and Der Derian, J. (2010) Sustainable Diplomacies. Palgrave, p. 1-19.


Bjola, C. (2015) “Introduction: making sense of digital diplomacy”, in

Bjola, C. and Holmes, M. (eds) Digital Diplomacy: Theory and Practice Routledge: London, p. 1-5.


Holmes, M. (2015) Digital Diplomacy and International Change Management, in Bjola, C. and Holmes, M. (eds) Digital Diplomacy: Theory and Practice Routledge: London 13-32.


Seib, P. (2012) Real-Time Diplomacy: Politics and Power in the Social Media Era Palgrave Macmillan: Basingstoke. 1-12


Sotiriu, S. (2015) “Digital Diplomacy: Between promises and reality”, in Bjola, C. and Holmes, M. (eds) Digital Diplomacy: Theory and Practice Routledge: London, 33-51.


Arsenault, A. (2013) “Networks of Freedom, Networks of Control: Internet Policy as a Platform for and Impediment to Relational Public Diplomacy”, in Zaharna, R.S. et al (eds)Relational, Networked and Collaborative Approaches to Public Diplomacy, Routledge, 192-208.


Cull, N.J. (2011) WikiLeaks, public diplomacy 2.0 and the state of digital public diplomacy,Place Branding and Public Diplomacy 7, 1-8.


Khatib et al (2012) “Public Diplomacy 2.0: A Case study of the US Digital Outreach Team”, Middle East Journal 66 (3): 453-472.


Baumen, Z. et al (2014) “After Snowden: Rethinking the Impact of Surveillance” International Political Sociology 8: 121-144.


Tufekci, Z. (2014) Engineering the public: Big data, surveillance and computational politics,First Monday 19 (7)



Deibert, Ronald, Rohozinski, Rafal & Crete-Nishihata, Masashi (2012). ‘Cyclones in Cyberspace: Information Shaping and Denial in the 2008 Russia-Georgia War’. Security Dialogue, 43(1): 3-24.


Hansen, L. and H. Nissenbaum (2009) ”Digital Disaster, Cyber Security, and the Copenhagen School” International Studies Quarterly 53, 1155-1175. 

Bachelor level in IR, and keen interest in internet communication technologies
The course will consist of lectures and guest-lectures, methods workshops, student presentations and group work.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • Total
  • 28
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester

Students will receive feedback on mandatory assignments throughout the course.   

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Continuous assessment
Written Course Assignments
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assesment


• Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course’s goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings

• Grade 7 given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings

• Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner.’