Digital IR in the Information Age

To identify trends and developments in the world of technology and examine their implications for international relations.

The rate of technological change in today's society is poised to have far-reaching implications for the study and conduct of international relations. At the core of this “technological revolution” are a set of complex, compelling, and possibly troubling developments. Understanding the interplay between technological changes and international political developments will allow us to better grasp how the international system will be impacted as the information age matures.

LSE IDEAS has also produced primers intended to provide a clear and concise introduction to various topics pertaining to technology and IR (i.e. AI, digital statecraft, telecommunications). You will find them under their respective research cluster sub-sections.

Research Clusters

Digital Statecraft: A New Frontier in International Relations

Commentary - A Conversation with Brazil's Cyber Diplomat
February 2022

Louise Marie Hurel discusses the present and future pathways for Brazil’s foreign policy on cybersecurity with Minister Marcelo Câmara.

Subject Primer - Digital Statecraft: An Introduction (forthcoming)
This primer outlines common components of digital statecraft and how it has evolved from the past to the present.

Commentary - The Threat of Virtual Summitry to the G7's Success
August 2021

In this commentary, Dr Tristen Naylor examines the digitalisation of diplomacy and the threat virtual summitry poses to the G7. This commentary is based on an academic journal article titled ‘All That’s Lost: The Hollowing of Summit Diplomacy in a Socially Distanced World’, published in The Hague Journal of Diplomacy.

Strategic Update - Twitter and Digital Diplomacy: China and COVID-19
June 2021

In this Strategic Update, Professor Chris Alden and Kenddrick Chan investigate China's use of Twitter as a diplomatic instrument during the COVID-19 pandemic and what the implications are going forward.

Working Paper - Social media's impact on political discourse in South Africa 
June 2021

In this Working Paper, Dr. Sue Onslow explores how social media platforms have impacted political discourse in South Africa.

Book Review - 2034: A Novel of the Next World War
June 2021

Kenddrick Chan reviews this geopolitical thriller that envisions how great power conflict will play out in the digital era of the near future.

Strategic Update - Making Sense of Technological Spheres of Influence
April 2020

In this Strategic Update, Valentin Weber explains how we have arrived at this novel geopolitical arrangement, where in the world the greatest contestation lies, and what the future of technospheres may hold.

Global Connectivity: The Infrastructures of 5G Networks

Subject Primer - The Infrastructures of Global Connectivity: 5G Networks

This primer outlines what 5G telecommunication networks are, how they function, and what the relevant policy considerations are, given ongoing debates.

Working Paper - Assessing China’s Digital Silk Road: Huawei’s engagement in Nigeria
November 2021

 In this Working Paper, Nils Hungerland and Kenddrick Chan examine the implication of Huawei's engagement in Nigeria and its implications for the wider Chinese Digital Silk Road initiative.

Data and AI: Tech Ecosystems and the Digital Economy

Subject Primer - Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Data in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (forthcoming)

This primer outlines what artificial intelligence and machine learning is, what its limits are, and why 'big data' might or might not be the new oil as we head for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Events and Podcasts

Upcoming Events

There are no upcoming events from the Digital IR project. Click here to find out what events LSE IDEAS are running.

Recordings of Past Events

Chain sq

The US, China and the Global Race to Dominate Blockchain and Crypto Technologies
Tuesday 22 February 2022

With growing state interests in ‘blockchain’ and ‘cryptocurrency’, the panel discusses the capabilities and potential uses of these technologies for domestic and foreign policy.

Electronic Chip sq

Cyber Norms: transnational efforts to regulate cyberspace
Thursday 10 February 2022

The digital domain is now an increasingly significant geopolitical battleground for numerous countries. Regulating their behaviour via cyber norms is therefore of paramount importance. Kaja Ciglic, Senior Director of Digital Diplomacy at Microsoft, will discuss Microsoft’s work on issues related to international peace and stability to advance trust in the digital domain.

Amit Sheniak

Cyber-Policy in the Middle East: origins and current trends
Wednesday 24 November 2021

This LSE IDEAS webinar with Amit Sheniak explores the origins, current trends, and the future of cyber-policy in the region.

Clare Melford

Bankrolling Bigotry
Tuesday 9 November 2021

The financial incentives to create polarising and divisive content online have generated a tsunami of hate and division. Breaking the business model is the key to reclaiming our information space. Catch up on our webinar with Clare Melford, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Global Disinformation Index.


Meet the Team

Professor Chris Alden is Head of the Digital IR Project. He is Director of LSE IDEAS and Professor of International Relations at the LSE.

Kenddrick Chan is the Deputy Head of the Digital IR Project, and Research Associate at LSE IDEAS.

Julia Ryng is the Digital IR Project Coordinator.

Working With Us

We are always interested in hearing from researchers who are working in areas related to the Digital IR project. If you are interested in collaborating, email


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