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The Impacts Of Cyberspace Towards Transformation Of State's Policy Formulation Processes

Posted on:2019-09-30Degree:MasterType:Thesis
Country:ChinaCandidate:Frimpong Oforiwaa FaustinaFull Text:PDF
GTID:2416330542982848Subject:International relations
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The emergence of cyberspace and its resultant impacts on contemporary politics,economies,education and societal relations are tremendous.The intricate nature of cyberspace and its challenges to states in the exercise of control over their citizens have generated concerns among scholars regarding the traditional sovereignty of states in the digital era.The issue of sovereignty has been one of the relevant topics of discussion among international relations scholars since the end of the Cold War.This debate about is the evolution or non-evolution of state sovereignty.This discord is particularly between the structuralists and the constructivists.The constructivists and post structuralists regard state sovereignty as a dynamic social institution which is socially and historically constructed as well as a constitutive part of the international system while structuralists view state sovereignty as a static element.Using Ghana as a case study,this present study sought to unveil the causal connections between cyberspace(internet development in Ghana)and transformation of national policy formulation processes.In effect it sought to uncover the nature of sovereignty in this era.Ghana accessed internet connectivity in 1994 making it one of the earliest African countries to have internet access.The premier form of access was through fixed line access.It had only one submarine optic cable(SAT-3/WASC)which it shared with other West African countries before 2010.Ghanaian leaders envisioned the prospects of ICT for development and worked hard towards achieving such end.In so doing they needed a policy to serve as a guide.The preparation towards the first cyber related policy began in1998 and was approved in 2003.Subsequent related policies and laws have followed.With careful analysis of the formulation processes of cyber related polices and laws,it was discovered that the presence of external actors in these processes were strong particularly with the policies.After the end of Cold War(marked by heightened globalization)Ghana has independently formulated a lot of policies despite the rise ofexternal actors in domestic politics during this period(in a form of multinational Corporations,NGOs,IGOs,etc.),some of which are in relation to health,education,and socio-economic development,etc.The recent changes in the country's policy formulation processes(cyber related policies)with increasing involvement of external actors leave room for enquiry.Therefore,there was the need to assess the causal connections between the emergence of cyberspace(internet)in Ghana and the transformation of national policy formulation processes thereby evaluating the nature of state sovereignty in the digital age.Research questions are:what led to the increasing involvement of external actors in Ghana's cyber related policy formulation processes and how was the state sovereignty affected? Did the state delegate,enabled or allowed authority to slip by and why? The main argument is that the intricate nature of cyberspace and its related issues necessitated the inclusion of external actors in Ghana's cyber related policy formulation process and that the increasing involvement of external actors in these processes is an indication of the dynamic nature of state sovereignty.In simple logical presentation;the emergence of cyberspace increasing role of external actors in domestic politics evolution of sovereignty from the state of having certain infallible rights over its affairs to the era of emphasis on obligations to survive in the contemporary world(that is: a b c).The study employed a single case study and qualitative approach through process tracing for interpreting the effects of cyberspace on national policy formulation processes.Formal and systematic processes were employed to obtain and analyzed data to answer research questions,test hypothesis and make inferences.The systematic processes employed enabled the researcher to rule out the dynamics in the policy formulation process with regards to the nature,number,and the extent at which state actors were influenced by external actors.The functions of external actors(which are interstate organizations,Non-governmental Organizations,governments from different countries)were critically analyzed.Two sources of data were used;these are primary and secondary sources.Primary data were obtained through field work by the researcher while secondary data were sourced from published articles,books,news reports etc.Data collection methodsincludes: purposive sampling,structured interview and direct observation.While methods of data analysis employed are narrative analysis strategy and content analysis.The findings of the research unveiled a cause and effects relationship between the emergence of cyberspace and the transformation of national policy formulation processes in Ghana.Identified factors that caused the inclusion of external actors in Ghana's cyber policies include;Soaring digital globalization and lack of technical-know-how in Ghana,developmental needs of the country,the attitudes of policy makers towards cyberspace and external actors,Increasing cyber-crimes and attacks.However,critical analysis of the findings elucidated problematic objective evaluation of the causal connections between the variables with regards to the effects of cyberspace on sovereignty in the context understudy.This is because the cause and effect relationship between cyberspace and transformation of national policy formulation processes was apparent but objective evaluation of the nature of the effects of cyberspace on state sovereignty was quite challenging.Considering the dynamism in the policy formulation process(inclusion of external actors),the nature of actors,roles played by external actors as well as the nature of working relationship/interaction between them,it cannot be objectively argued that the state autonomy is not affected by such changes neither can it be stated categorically that Ghana's autonomy in its national policy formulation is in decline.Based on the findings it can be said that such transformation(emergence of cyberspace)is changing the nature of domestic politics by including external actors and this is a reflection of the dynamic nature of sovereignty as argued by the constructivists.The nature of sovereignty is in dynamic process in a sense that,it has moved from a point when it had certain unquestioned rights to that which offer them certain obligations,an obligation to survive in the information age and ensure the security of its populace and the world as a whole.
Keywords/Search Tags:Constructivism, cyberspace, external actors, Ghana, sovereignty, national policy formulation, and developing countries
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