Governance and War in Cyberspace - PO691

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
Autumn 6 15 (7.5) DR G Mott checkmark-circle


This module provides an overview of the degree to which cyberspace continues to revolutionise the operations of both state and non-state actors, and the challenges of governing this 'fifth sphere' of power projection. Whilst this module is not entrenched in International Relations or Security Studies theory, students will have the opportunity to apply both traditional and non-traditional approaches to the politics of cyberspace. Key themes include: 21st century technology, cyber warfare, espionage, surveillance, deterrence theory, cyberterrorism, and representation of threatening cyber-entities. Students will develop a toolkit to critique the existing state and NGO-based governance regime for cyberspace, and will convey arguments both for and against a ‘Geneva Convention’ for cyberspace.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

Total contact hours: 22
Private study hours: 128
Total study hours: 150

Method of assessment

Briefing papers (x 2) of 500 words each (2 x 15% = 30%)
Essay, 3,000 words (70%)

Indicative reading

Thomas Chen, Lee Jarvis and Stuart Macdonald, (2014) Cyberterrorism: Understanding, Assessment, and Response, New York: Springer
Nazli Choucri et al., (2019) Cyberspace and International Relations: The Co-Evolution Dilemma, Cambridge MA: MIT Press
Lucas Kello, (2018) The Virtual Weapon and International Order, New Haven CT: Yale University Press
Jan-Frederick Kremer and Benedikt Muller, (2014) Cyberspace and International Relations: Theory, Prospects and Challenges, New York: Springer
David Sanger, (2018) The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage, and Fear in the Cyber Age, London: Scribe
Damien Van Puyvelde and Aaron Brantly, (2019) Cybersecurity: Politics, Governance and Conflict in Cyberspace, Cambridge: Polity Press

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the Level 6 module students will be able to:
Understand and critically assess various definitions of cyberspace
Demonstrate a critical understanding of the existing structures for the governance of cyberspace, and the challenges of progressing this governance regime further
Critique the manner in which cyberspace can be used as a means of power projection by both state and non-state actors
Demonstrate a critical understanding of cyber weaponry and its potential effects
Critically analyse the role of identity and representation in the formation of a 'Politics of Cybersecurity'.
Apply knowledge gained in the module to assess cases of both 'online' and 'offline' conflagration.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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