Date of Submission

Fall 12-8-2020

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in International Conflict Management (Ph.D. INCM)

Chair/Co-chair

Volker Franke

Committee Member

Christopher Pallas

Committee Member

April Johnson

Committee Member

Crystal Armstrong

Abstract

What is our responsibility towards others, both locally and globally, particularly as it relates to human rights? In a world connected by ever-advancing communications technology and social media, the question of responsibility takes on a greater significance when individuals have the capacity to be better informed than at any previous time in history. The digital age connects people from around the globe, fostering greater awareness about global issues and creating personal connections, which builds understanding and empathy. Traditionally, domestic responsibility has centered on civic engagement, such as being active politically and in the community. International responsibility has largely remained the purview of states through international law and policies such as the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) Doctrine. However, the digital age has added new dimensions to the concept of individual responsibility, both by connecting people globally and creating a greater capacity for engagement. New technology allows for a greater dissemination of information and provides new avenues for engagement both nationally and internationally. Digital natives, those born into a world in which access to the internet is a normal part of life, present an ideal population to better understand how digital connections contribute to feelings of responsibility and how that responsibility is manifested. Through a survey of 826 digital natives in the United States, this dissertation seeks to understand how they use social media, consume news and relevant information, and conceptualize and act upon their responsibilities. The digital age provides a new capacity for the advancement of human rights through a cosmopolitan responsibility in which we all become the keepers of one another.

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