1st Edition

The World Information War Western Resilience, Campaigning, and Cognitive Effects

Edited By Timothy Clack, Robert Johnson Copyright 2021
    316 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    316 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book outlines the threats from information warfare faced by the West and analyses the ways it can defend itself.

    Existing on a spectrum from communication to indoctrination, information can be used to undermine trust, amplify emotional resonance, and reformulate identities. The West is currently experiencing an information war, and major setbacks have included: ‘fake news’; disinformation campaigns; the manipulation of users of social media; the dissonance of hybrid warfare; and even accusations of ‘state capture’. Nevertheless, the West has begun to comprehend the reality of what is happening, and it is now in a position defend itself. In this volume, scholars, information practitioners, and military professionals define this new war and analyse its shape, scope, and direction. Collectively, they indicate how media policies, including social media, represent a form of information strategy, how information has become the ‘centre of gravity’ of operations, and why the further exploitation of data (by scale and content) by adversaries can be anticipated. For the West, being first with the truth, being skilled in cyber defence, and demonstrating virtuosity in information management are central to resilience and success.

    This book will be of much interest to students of strategic studies, information warfare, propaganda studies, cyber-security, and International Relations.


    Rick Legett

    Introduction: The world information war

    Robert Johnson and Timothy Clack

    Part I: How did this war start?

    1. A brief history of propaganda: ‘a much maligned and misunderstood word’

    David Welch

    2. Homo Digitalis enters the battlefield

    David Patrikarakos

    Part II: Truth, cognition, and control

    3. Democracy and contemporary media: what is the problem?

    Alexander Prescott-Couch

    4. The changing nature of propaganda: coming to terms with influence in conflict

    Alicia Wanless and Michael Berk

    5. ‘Does my suffering matter?’: storytelling and the military

    Oliver Lewis and Chris DeFaria

    Part III: How others fight

    6. Women, digital imagery and the Islamic State: ‘guns and roses’
    Rebecca Fallon and Timothy Clack

    7. Social media, computational propaganda, and control in China and beyond

    Gillian Bolsover

    8. Russian information war: construct and purpose

    Keir Giles

    Part IV: Policy response and how to fight

    9. Algorithmic pluralism: media regulation and system resilience in the age of information warfare

    Damian Tambini

    10. Digital propaganda, counterpublics, and the disruption of the public sphere: the Finnish approach to building digital resilience

    Corneliu Bjola and Krysianna Papadakis

    11. Information warfare: theory to practice

    Robert Johnson

    12. Artificial intelligence, security, and society

    Keith Dear

    Part V: On the horizon

    13. From Beijing bloggers to Whitehall writers: observations on the ‘invisible war’

    Timothy Clack and Louise Selisny

    14. War in an age of uncertainty

    Nigel Inkster


    Timothy Clack is the Chingiz Gutseriev Fellow at the University of Oxford, UK, and co-editor of the Routledge Advances in Defence Studies series.

    Robert Johnson is the Director of the Changing Character of War Centre at the University of Oxford, UK.