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The Impact of Digital Totalitarianism on Liberal International Order: A Catalyst for a New International Order

Hao, Tianshu (2023) The Impact of Digital Totalitarianism on Liberal International Order: A Catalyst for a New International Order. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The liberal international order refers to the international order established by the United States after World War II, consisting of the liberal order, the economic order, and the human rights order. The decline of the liberal international order and the challenge to it by authoritarian regimes is generally acknowledged in the current academic literature. Digital totalitarianism is a new political tool that has emerged in the last decade that is capable of maintaining regime stability. Current scholarship has paid less attention to digital totalitarianism in favor of digital authoritarianism, which is more oriented toward digital repression and lacks digital control of the entire populace. In this thesis, digital totalitarianism is defined as a combination of digital repression and digital control. This thesis contributes to this debate by providing a clearer explanation of digital totalitarianism and distinguishes the difference between digital totalitarianism and digital authoritarianism. As an emerging political tool, the impact of digital totalitarianism on the liberal international order is still unclear. This thesis theorizes that authoritarian states like China and Russia are currently decoupling from liberal democracies, that there are clear differences between authoritarian and democratic states in their understanding of liberal international order, and that authoritarian powers like China are seeking a new international order. In such an international context, digital totalitarianism, as an emerging political tool, can help increase cooperation and diplomatic ties among the countries attracted to it. This can accelerate and catalyze the formation of a new international order and weaken the global influence of the liberal international order. The thesis uses a mixed-method design to examine patterns between regime type and of adoption of digital totalitarianism, as well as case studies of six countries with three different regime types in order to test my causal mechanism of regime stability.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Hao, Tianshutih62@pitt.edutih62
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairHaas, Melindamhh34@pitt.edumhh34
Committee MemberKenney, Michaelmkenney@pitt.edumkenney
Committee MemberIza, Dingyud30@pitt.eduyud30
Date: 20 June 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 29 March 2023
Approval Date: 20 June 2023
Submission Date: 19 April 2023
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 107
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Graduate School of Public and International Affairs > Public and International Affairs
Degree: MPIA - Master of Public and International Affairs
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Digital Totalitarianism, Digital Authoritarianism, International order,Liberal international order, Digital Control, Digital repression, Internet surveillance and censorship.
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2023 16:11
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2023 16:11

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