1 x 5-day intensive workshop per semester
Enrolment not permitted
GOVT3002 has been successfully completed
Assumed knowledge
Basic knowledge of politics such as can be obtained in POLI1003 An Introduction to Democracy and Government or equivalent.
Topic description

This topic explores the interplay between politics, policy and new technologies. The growth and use of the internet (and other digital communication technologies) leaves an indelible impact on politics and public policy. Students who study this topic will be expected to engage with the following subjects:

  • The impact of the internet of the 'civic culture'. Using Almond and Verba's concept of the civic culture this explores the impact of new forms of participation, and the so-called 'digital divide'
  • Changes in political campaigning - the impact of YouTube and other new technologies. In Australia, the 2007 federal election was the first time that this technology was used
  • Civic engagement and technology - the topic will explore a range of cases to understand how technologies are used to impact on political decision-making and policy processes. For example, the 'Kony2012' case. In broader content, the use of technologies during the 'Arab Spring'; offers key insights into the uses and misuses of new technologies. The use of the internet as an instrument will be considered as used by NGOs/pressure groups and other actors such as 'Anonymous'
  • The impact of the internet on the public realm - drawing upon Habermas's concept of the public realm; it's potential fragmentation, and developments such as the 'blogosphere'
  • Governance of the internet - the governance and regulatory structures of the internet are outlined. In this respect, the interplay and tensions between supranational, and national entities are played out, against the backdrop of wider globalisation
  • E-governance - evaluating and critiquing e-governance strategies; exploring the use of new technologies for consultation and community involvement processes
  • Ethics, censorship, and whistleblowing - exploring the impact of the internet using cases such as 'WikiLeaks'
Educational aims

This topic aims to:

  • Introduce students into the impact of the internet (and new technologies) on politics and public policy
  • Enable students to understand key political concepts and ideas, including aspects of political behaviour, political campaigning, civic protest and dissent, civic culture, and the public realm through the prism of new technologies
  • Enable students to understand and critically assess a range of e-governance and internet based policies designed to foster greater collaborative governance. Allow for critical engagement for the impact of the internet on public policy processes
  • Enable students to understand the governance of the internet
  • Foster critical thinking and engagement with broader political and public policy processes
Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic you will be expected to be able to:

  1. Engage in an informed manner with political and policy controversies and debates; understand the major issues, debates and dilemmas relating to the impact of new technologies on politics and public policy
  2. Critically assess the impact of new technologies on political behaviour, campaigning and the impact on the public realm
  3. Understand how new technologies impact on the relationship between state and citizen, policy and political decision-makers, NGOs and interest groups
  4. Understand a series of ethical and policy issues relating to e-governance, internet activism and government transparency
  5. Have advanced your skills in critical reading, professional writing, bibliographic research, academic analysis and verbal argument