Summary to come.

Ten years since its emergence as a mainstream global medium, the Internet has interwoven with many contentious political issues, whilst also inspiring alternative visions on the nature of change and order in world politics. How political actors have been able to use the Internet to both control and liberate other agents and structures is not only one of the central enquires for researchers in the field, but also a critical question for students of international affairs. The study of the global political implications of the medium, however, remains in its infancy and there is much we do not understand. Questions of power and governance lie at the heart of many of these enquiries. The St Antony’s International Review (STAIR), the academic journal of international affairs at the University of Oxford, will be hosting a major one-day conference in preparation for a special Internet-themed issue to be published in May 2007 (Vol. 3, No. 1).

The conference, to be held at St Antony’s College on December 6, 2006, intends to reflect the ethos of STAIR by inviting academic and policy experts, as well as young researchers from a range of intellectual backgrounds to engage in cross-disciplinary dialogue.

Call for papers

This call for papers is both general and conference-specific. A peer review process of all papers will be conducted from January 2007 in order to assess the best articles for publication. There is no guarantee that papers accepted for the conference will automatically be eligible for publication in the issue.

The Editors are particularly keen to attract analysis with a regional focus. Areas of enquiry could include, but are not limited to, the following:


The reshaping of cultural forms and practices by the use of the Internet has been remarkable in many respects. As an educating and organising tool, the Internet has been harnessed by transnational activists of many colours, but what are the key lessons one can draw in terms of political effectiveness and participation? Under what conditions do public and private authorities intervene to disturb or disrupt agents of online contentious politics? In the media space, as the traditional distinction between information provider and receiver has blurred, how have our understandings of political communication changed and who has gained from these shifts?


Embedded into cultural developments are more visible power struggles centred on who controls and governs this new field, domestically and internationally. At one end of the spectrum, the Internet has gained prominence in inter-state relations. Reflecting on conventional notions of state power and sovereignty, how can the medium be conceptually and historically understood? In other areas, the rise of the Internet has witnessed corporations struggling to understand and adapt to its architecture. Considering the wider implications of new technology for intellectual property rights, this issue is connected to other recent activity in trade regulations and the problem of software piracy. Elsewhere, in respect to digital divides, how does one understand development hierarchies not only in terms of hardware, but also in software and the attached rights?


The attacks of September 11, 2001 revealed the extent to which terrorists are widely connected to and empowered by the Internet. In the ensuing ‘war on terror’ it has been reported that Al Qaeda is not only continuing to use the medium as a communication tool, but also as a forum for widespread recruitment and training. To what extent is this asymmetrical ‘war’ online? How have traditional strategies of war altered? How genuine is the cyberterrorist threat? In respect to broader surveillance and censorship questions, what is the most suitable role for state authorities? How has the Internet redefined our notions of security?


  • Abstracts (general and conference): September 10, 2006

  • Notification of accepted papers: September 24, 2006

  • Conference papers due: November 29, 2006

  • All papers due: December 31, 2006


STAIR Agenda

Further information

For further information on sub-themes, questions that could be addressed, and the conference, please contact: Anna Hakala, Co-Editor (





Registration / Coffee


Welcome and Introduction by STAIR Editors


James der Derian: The Use and Abuse of the Internet in an Age of Infoterror


Coffee Break


Themed Session: The Internet and Terrorism

Maura Conway: Terrorist Use of the Internet and the Challenges of Governing Cyberspace

Solon Baroccas: De/re/coding Security in Societies of Control: Database as Security Practice, of Radical Relationality in Ontologies of Terror


Lunch at St Antony’s


Diana Owen: Citizen Journalists and the Evolution of Political Media


Paul A. Taylor: Digital Resistance: Radical Protest and the Internet


Coffee Break


Themed Session: Internet Governance

Moderator: William Drake

David Bach and Abraham Newman: Local Power, Global Reach: The Domestic Institutional Roots of Internet Governance

Ivan Horrocks: Managed Technology = Managed Democracy

Rex Hughes: Internet Governance Through a Postinternational Prism


Jonathan Zittrain


Concluding Session with STAIR Editors