Scope of Conference
1. Theorizing international relations in information era
One of the consequences of seeing international relations from a different prism is whether and which of the existing theories has better explanatory power in explaining international relations in this prism. During the two World-War and Cold War periods, for example, realism had better explanatory power in understanding international relations, while liberalism had better explanatory power in explaining the cooperative trend in the post-war onward. Now that international relations enter a new stage of information era, what theory(-ies) and concepts would best explain international relations? What would be the main challenges for IR theories and concepts to explain international relations in this prism? More specifically, how about the core concepts such as sovereignty, power, and security? How would information era speak differently about state power and power constellations? What about north-south relations? Would it mean more concentrated or distributed power relations? What about state and non-state relations? Public-private partnership?
2. Digital diplomacy and interstate relations
The second area that has been transformed by information technology is states’ practice of diplomacy. This subtopic, therefore, aims to explore questions such as how far and in what ways states use information technology to conduct diplomacy? How effective is digital diplomacy? What about other use of information technology by the state such as espionage? What are the implications of using this technology on inter-state relations?
3. Cyber security and information warfare
Perhaps the most developed area in relations to international relations in information era is concepts and issues related to cyber security and information warfare. This area specifically treats information as a new form of power, and thus, information technology including cyber here, as a new domain for securitization. It further treats cyber as a new battlefield for states that states have to win over other states and non-state actors for their security. Many concepts of this area, however, is not yet well-defined. For this reason, this subtopics explore questions, such as how should we understand emerging concepts such as information warfare, cyber security, cyber defense, cyber offense, cyber attack, cyber conflict, cyber war, cyber power, cyber terrorism, and cyber crime? How do these concepts affect the conduct of war? How far cyber threats from various actors pose challenges to states’ security? How do states respond to these challenges?
4. International Law in information era
Closely related to all of the above areas is the question on how international law responds to these new characteristics of international relations? How does international law speak about digital diplomacy and cyber war? Are the existing laws sufficient to respond to these changes? What are issues emerging in international law in relations to these changes? What kind of steps have the states taken to respond to these issues? What about the rise of e-commerce? How does international law respond to issues such as taxes for online businesses?
5. E-Commerce and International Political Economy
Issues on e-commerce do not always correspond to international law. Other aspects under consideration are the impact of e-commerce on international relations. For example, many have proposed correlations between various economic forces, such as trade and investment and the peaceful relations between states even though with mix results. Now with the rise of e-commerce, could it also have meaningful impacts on peaceful interstate relations? What are the impacts of e-commerce on global governance? What are outstanding issues related to e-commerce in the context of international relations? How should businesses adapt to these changes?
6. Social Media, Development, Democracy, and Human Rights
The last area where we see the significant nexus between information technology and the transformation of international relations is on issues related to the role of social media in promoting social movement domestically or internationally. In both cases, however, it is apparent of how international media, forces, and actors could promote domestic change and vice versa. This subtopics would thus discuss questions such as how domestic actors use social media to promote their caucus to international audience and vice versa, and how states respond to these movements?