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Welcome to the course

In the world of hashtag protest, cyberwars, fake news and algorithmic biases, the topic of Digital Politics is both timely and exciting.
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Welcome to the Digital Politics course. My name is Adi Kuntsman. I’m a Reader in Digital Politics at Manchester Metropolitan University at the Department of History, Politics, and Philosophy. For over 15 years I’ve been researching the way people use the Internet, social media, and other digital communication technologies for political purposes. I have studied how communities are organised online, how virtual spaces can create a feeling of being together. I also studied how digital communication can tell people and communities apart, for example, through hate speech and online violence. I have published a number of books and articles.
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Among them, a study of how social media is used to justify military violence and galvanise supporters for army operations; as well as how online communities create alternative spaces of commemoration of losses caused by wars and opposing violence, violence and conflict. Online communication, which has grown and developed and changed so much in the last decade, is a fascinating, fertile ground for political actions by a range of actors, from state institutions, politicians to military groups, to activists and communities, the ordinary people. This course is the first window into the world of digital politics. Now when we say politics or when we ask, what is digital politics? Some of you may think we refer to news or perhaps politicians on social media.
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These are indeed examples of digital politics, but digital politics can be much, much more. In this course, we will look at some examples of what digital politics actually is. We will ask, what is political in the online world without national borders and physical boundaries? How do political developments go digital? How do digital technologies transform politics? What are digital rights, digital freedoms? This course, will start with a brief overview of the field of digital projects, which is an emerging area of interests for professionals, an ordinary internet users alike. Then in the following week, we wil look at how wars go digital and the kinds of dilemmas posed by digital warfare to international relations and politics more broadly.
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Next, we will look at how digital technologies change activism, how people get organised over the internet. And then finally, we will look at how digital technologies transform political campaigns and ask whether algorithms can threaten democratic processes. Over the course of four weeks, you’ll be introduced to some key ideas and concepts that will help you build your knowledge of digital politics. It will equip you with tools to understand it and hopefully, ignite your curiosity about how to grow, change, and transform digital politics in the future. Welcome to the course.

In the world of hashtag protest, cyberwars, fake news and algorithmic biases, the topic of Digital Politics is both timely and exciting.

Located at the intersection of international relations, political economy, sociology, media, and communication studies, the subject of digital politics brings together innovative research on recent and acutely relevant matters to national and global politics.

Adi Kuntsman, one of our lead researchers in the field of digital politics, explains the purpose of this course and summarises the topics you will cover during each week.

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Digital Politics: Digital Activism and Cyber Warfare

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