IJoC Publishes Special Section on Authoritarian Practices

International Journal of Communication Publishes a Special Section on
Authoritarian Practices in the Digital Age  


There is increasing concern about how digital technologies contribute to a decline of democracy and the rise of authoritarian tendencies. Published September 18, 2018, this Special Section on Authoritarian Practices in the Digital Age breaks new ground by systematically examining how digital authoritarian practices are diffused between states, co-produced by states and corporate actors, legitimized in multilateral settings, and experienced by citizens. Digital authoritarian practices describe threats to the democratic process, sabotaging accountability by disrupting access to information or disabling communication.



Edited by Marlies Glasius and Marcus Michaelsen, University of Amsterdam, the Special Section brings together nine papers including an editorial introduction, a conceptual prologue, and seven research articles that extend our understanding of the relationship between contemporary forms of authoritarianism and digital communication technologies. The contributions investigate Internet control and censorship, surveillance, and disinformation, presenting insights from China, Russia and Central Asia, Iran, Pakistan, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Western Europe.

In addition to presenting original empirical research, the articles aim to advance conceptual knowledge on what constitutes an authoritarian and/or illiberal practice in the field of digital technologies, and how these practices, in turn, may change the ways in which the technologies are used and developed in an increasingly interconnected world.

To access the papers, please Ctrl+Click on the article titles below for direct linking, or go to ijoc.org. We look forward to your feedback.


Authoritarian Practices in the Digital Age — Introduction
Marcus Michaelsen, Marlies Glasius

Illiberal and Authoritarian Practices in the Digital Sphere — Prologue
Marlies Glasius, Marcus Michaelsen

Information, Security, and Authoritarian Stability: Internet Policy Diffusion and Coordination in the Former Soviet Region
Jaclyn A. Kerr

The Contestation and Shaping of Cyber Norms through China’s Internet Sovereignty Agenda
Sarah McKune, Shazeda Ahmed

Transforming Threats to Power: The International Politics of Authoritarian Internet Control in Iran
Marcus Michaelsen 

Asymmetrical Power Between Internet Giants and Users in China
Aofei Lv, Ting Luo

Blocking the Bottleneck: Internet Shutdowns and Ownership at Election Times in Sub-Saharan Africa
Tina Freyburg, Lisa Garbe

Understanding Internet Shutdowns: A Case Study from Pakistan
Ben Wagner

Through a Glass, Darkly: Everyday Acts of Authoritarianism in the Liberal West
Stefania Milan, Arne Hintz

Larry Gross

Arlene Luck
Managing Editor

Marlies Glasius, Marcus Michaelsen
Guest Editors