[FoME] CfP: Telecommunication Politics in Authoritarian Contexts

lisa.garbe at posteo.de lisa.garbe at posteo.de
Mi Mär 15 09:33:04 CET 2017

Call for Papers

Workshop: Telecommunication Politics in Authoritarian Contexts
University of St Gallen, 9 and 10 May 2017, St Gallen/Switzerland

The aim of the workshop “Telecommunications Politics in Authoritarian 
Contexts” is to understand whether Information and Communication 
Technologies (ICT) reduce a state’s capacity for repression by hindering 
the effective control of ICT or whether ICT allow repressive regimes to 
imposing further restrictions on individual liberties and human rights.

The increasing spread of ICT poses distinct challenges for political 
scientists. How should this collective resource be managed and governed? 
And, how have new ICT, which enable individuals to promptly and 
economically connect to others, transformed transnational and domestic 
politics? Yet, the discipline of political sciences has paid 
comparatively little attention to the Internet’s infrastructure and its 
political use and impact. Debates on Internet governance have taken 
place largely in other disciplines. Specifically, in the political 
science literature, the Internet is mostly treated as a ‘technical black 
box’ without recognizing systematic differences in its infrastructure.

The workshop aims at teaming scholars and practitioners working on the 
political use and effects of ICT (with a focus on authoritarian 
regimes), the role of private business and their accountability therein, 
as well as the architecture of the Internet. Bringing together experts 
with varying backgrounds, the workshop seeks to contribute to closing 
the scientific gap between political science concepts, on the one hand, 
and economic and technical aspects on the other. We invite contributions 
that deal with the political use and effects of Information and 
Communication Technologies (ICT) in authoritarian contexts. We are 
especially welcoming papers that focus on:
- The business component of Internet (e.g., the global value chain of 
the Internet, companies and their interests);
- The infrastructure of Internet and its political dimension (e.g., 
technical approach to Internet access, the process of shut-downs and 
Internet access restrictions);
- The political use of ICT (e.g., how do states interfere with the net 

The workshop will gather about 15 scholars for an in-depth debate over 
two days. We will be happy to receive proposals from scholars at any 
level – PhD students at an advanced stage, postdoctoral and more senior 
researchers alike. The organizers will cover travel and accommodation 
expenses (within reasonable limits). Papers discussed at the workshop 
should have 15-20 pp. and present a substantial argument about the issue 
without the need to be publication-ready.

31 March 2017: please send abstract (300-500 words) to 
tina.freyburg at unisg.ch, describing: the main question or research 
problem; the theoretical framework; the research method; expected 
outcomes; relation with the specific topics addressed in this call.

10 April 2017: notification of participants
2 May 2017: final paper submission
9 and 10 May June 2017 workshop at the University of St Gallen

The workshop is organized in the context of the research project 
“Telecommunications Politics in Authoritarian Developing Countries”, 
funded by the Swiss Network for International Studies. Please see here 
for more information: www.tina-freyburg.eu

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