This thesis argues that it is important to distinguish between two different phenomena in cyberpolitical spaces: First of all, between ethnic or religious groups fighting over in cyberspace, as they do in real life (Ethnoreligious cyberconflict) and second, between a social movement and its antagonistic institution (Sociopolitical cyberconflict). These different kinds of cyberconflict can be explained in the context of international conflict analysis for ethnoreligious cyberconflict and social movement theory for sociopolitical cyberconflict, while keeping in mind that this takes place in a media environment by using media theory. By combining elements of these approaches and justifying the link to cyberconflict, it is possible to use them as a theoretical light to look at the environment of Cyberconflict (CC) and analysis of incidents of CC. Consequently, this work looks at the leading groups using the internet either as weapon or a resource against governments, while also looking at networks, international organisations and new social movements. Searching for a satisfactory theoretical framework, I propose the following parameters to be looked at while analysing cyberconflicts:
1. Environment of Conflict and Conflict Mapping (real and virtual). The world system generates an arborescent apparatus, which is haunted by lines of flight, emerging through underground networks connected horizontally and lacking a hierarchic centre (Deleuze and Guattari). The structure of the internet is ideal for network groups, (a global network with no central authority) has offered another experience of governance (no governance), time and space (compression), ideology (freedom of information and access to it), identity (multiplicity) and fundamentally an opposition to surveillance and control, boundaries and apparatuses.
2. Sociopolitical Cyberconflicts: The impact of ICTs on: a. Mobilising structures (network style of movements using the internet, participation, recruitment, tactics, goals), b. Framing Processes (issues, strategy, identity, the effect of the internet on these processes), c. Political opportunity structure (the internet as a component of this structure), d. hacktivism.
3. Ethnoreligious Cyberconflicts: a. Ethnic/religious affiliation, chauvinism, national identity, b. Discourses of inclusion and exclusion, c. Information warfare, the use of the internet as a weapon, propaganda and mobilisational resource d. Conflict resolution depends on legal, organisational framework, number of parties issues, distribution of power, values and beliefs.
4. The internet as a medium: a. Analysing discourses (representations of the world, constructions of social identities and social relations), b. Control of information, level of censorship, alternative sources, c. Wolsfeld: Political contest model among antagonists: the ability to initiate and control events, dominate political discourse, mobilise supporters, d. Media effects on policy (strategic, tactical, and representational).
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