The Best Dissertation Award for 2021 goes to Dr. Niki Cheong for “Cybertrooping and the Online Manipulation of Political Communication in Malaysia: The Barisan Nasional Years.”
Congratulations, Dr. Cheong!
Dr. Cheong’s dissertation on cybertrooping in Malaysia is a beautifully written work, combining a unique dataset, a solid and sophisticated research design and an important but understudied topic into a stimulating and significant treatment of an issue that resonates in our time. This dissertation makes an important contribution to our understanding of the use of the Internet as a tool of misinformation, media manipulation and political obfuscation in both a local and global context. This provides a point of reference for taking a new look at astroturf and political propaganda efforts in other venues. While the dissertation is certainly of interest to Internet researchers, it would be useful to scholars in social movements, political action and public policy.
The Committee has also recognizes Dr. Niels ten Oever’s “Wired Norms: Inscription, Resistance, and Subversion in the Governance of the Internet Infrastructure” with an Honorable Mention. Dr. ten Oever’s dissertation also tackles a pressing issue. It is strong in both theory and methods and offers a critical perspective to internet governance.
AoIR is grateful for the hard work by this year’s Best Dissertation Award committee: Taina Bucher, Chair, Nadia Kutscher, Jessa Lingel, John McNutt, Jasmine Rault, and Aljosha Karim Schapals. Thank you for your hard work and professionalism during the review process.