Governance and War in Cyberspace - POLI8114

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


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.


Contact hours

Private Study: 128
Contact Hours: 22
Total: 150


This module is available to all students on MA courses within the School of Politics and International Relations.

Also available as an elective module.

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Policy paper, 1,500 words (40%)
Individual essay, 3,500 words (60%)

Reassessment methods:
100% coursework

Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices.

The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Understand and critically assess various definitions of cyberspace, confidently dividing these into social and technical forms.
2 Demonstrate a rigorous comprehension of the existing structures for the governance of cyberspace, and the challenges of progressing this governance regime further.
3 Critique the manner in which cyberspace can be used as a means of power projection by both state and non-state actors.
4 Demonstrate a keen critical understanding of cyber weaponry and its potential effects, confidently distinguishing between 'costly nuisances' and 'cyber disasters'.
5 Critically analyse the role of identity and representation in the formulation of a 'Politics of Cybersecurity', with reference to relevant case studies.
6 Rigorously apply knowledge gained in the module to assess cases of both 'online' and 'offline' conflagration.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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