Spatializing International Politics: Analysing Activism on the Internet

Spatializing International Politics: Analysing Activism on the Internet

Spatializing International Politics: Analysing Activism on the Internet

Spatializing International Politics: Analysing Activism on the Internet

Synopsis

How does the concept of 'space' impact upon International Relations? This book examines this interesting subject with reference to the ideas of French sociologist Henri Levebre and applies his theories to the use by NGOs of advances in information communications technologies, particularly the internet.

Excerpt

Research for this book originated with an analytical dilemma, namely how to analyse complex and overlapping phenomena in International Relations (IR). Looking at the role of the Internet in international politics (complex issue number one) and its implications for non-state actors (number two), it became clear that the frameworks available within the field, though broad and diverse, were not really adequate for the task. Hence the book swiftly moved from being an analysis of the ways some non-state actors use the Internet to one which questions how a discursive hegemony can impose constraints on the ways we understand and interpret practices that fall outside of our usual remit. As use of the Internet has continued to expand and a rise in transnational activism has become apparent, these issues have come to prominence in the discipline.

This book is based on the premise that the increasing complexities of international politics - of which the Internet and activism are only two related aspects - mean that it is necessary to push our conceptual boundaries and attempt to find new ways of thinking about theorizing the field. At the heart of this book, then, is an endeavour to find new ways of addressing complex issues in ir. With this, five key areas that may help to achieve this have been identified and are woven as themes through the book. the first of these relates to analysis of the Internet, a communications technology whose role in international politics has become increasingly significant in recent years. Some have argued that this technology is radically transforming the ways politics can be conducted and, by implication, what political practices are and how they can be understood. Others have suggested that the cost of access and the skills required to use the Internet make it little more than a toy with which rich kids can play with politics and pornography. Whatever the real effects of its introduction into the political arena - and these won’t be fully appreciated for some time yet - it’s clear that the Internet is having a profound impact on how we perceive and conceive of social and political relations on local and global scales.

I declare my own position on this from the outset: the Internet is having a profound impact on social and political relations, though not uniformly, certainly not equitably and not necessarily for the greater good. This may . . .

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