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PD Dr. Daniel Lambach

The New Space Age

The world is entering a New Space Age. Much like the original Space Age of the 1950s to 1970s, we are poised on the brink of momentous changes – not all of them good. Instead of being a forward-looking symbol of hope, the New Space Age is characterized by ambiguities, conflict, and contingencies. It is in this spirit that I am co-organizing a workshop series at the Schader Foundation (Darmstadt) together with Stefan Selke from the Public Science Lab (Hochschule Furtwangen). The goal of the series is to discuss social science perspectives on space and spaceflight. When compared to technical…

Narratives of the Tech War

I’m pleased to announce the start of a new research project. Following up on our successful project on digital sovereignty narratives in Germany, Kai Oppermann and I want to extend this line of inquiry. Our initial project was mainly concerned with reconstructing how actors speak of digital sovereignty. We now move to a part of the question why they do it, focusing on the idea that there is some kind of international „tech war“ or innovation race going on. We are very grateful to the German Foundation for Peace Research for funding a one-year pilot project which we will use to collect…

Arms Control in Space

There is the fundamental problem in space of what should count as arms at all. Due to the physical conditions in orbit, where every object moves with enormous kinetic energy, almost all space technology is considered inherently dual-use. This has always complicated arms control discussions, so that in recent years there have been increasing attempts to talk less about weapons and more about certain types of behaviour that are considered threatening (e.g. unannounced approaches), for example in the Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities put forward by the EU in 2008. Arms control discussions have been deadlocked for a…

The Seven Wagers of Globalization

Globalization is dead but what is taking its place? With current debates around „de-globalization“, „decoupling“, „re-shoring“ etc, it seems pretty clear that globalization as an ideological force is done for, even as the empirical process continues to unfold. For various reasons, I am unconvinced that de-globalization and the like are appropriate descriptors for the present and future of global order. In this two-part article, I want to argue for the notion of „post-globalization“ to capture the new realities. I will do so by contrasting central assumptions of globalization and post-globalization ideologies. In the first part, I focus on globalization. This…

Associate Fellow at PRIF

I’m happy to announce that since December 2022 I am an Associate Fellow at the Research Department International Security at the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF/HSFK). There, I will mainly contribute my expertise on space security and emerging technologies to expand the Department’s growing profile at the intersection of science/technology and peace/security. A secondary focus will be on Anthropocene security in the global commons, which builds upon my earlier work on territorialization and regime dynamics.

The Territorial Practices of Digital Communities

On Monday (19 December 2022), I will give a talk at the University of Marburg’s Center for Conflict Studies as part of its Winter Colloquium series. It’s a hybrid event, so if you want to sign up, make sure to register! I will, of course, make the trip to beautiful Marburg to see the new buildings that the Faculty now inhabits. The topic is „Practicing Territory and Community in Digital Spaces“. This brings together several long-standing interests of mine: territory as practice as well as the spatiality of the digital. But, this being a conflict research institute, I will mainly…

Cybernetic Landnahme

My very smart colleague Thorsten Thiel and I have been talking and writing back-and-forth about what we call the „Middle Age of Digitalization“. We haven’t quite worked out the details of that but the basic idea is that the digital transformation, as a technical, social, economic process, is moving from its early, disruptive phase towards a middle age of normalization and routinization. The Dark Side of Utopia As part of this, I’ve been reading and listening to other people for inspiration. Most recently, it was an episode of the Tech Won’t Save Us podcast with Douglas Rushkoff. Rushkoff, along with…

Land that is not Land

I have an enduring fascination with territory, space, and land and how we think about them. And while there is a lot to be said about that (and I have written multiple articles about it), I want to use this post mainly for something that I find both intriguing and hilarious. It’s about the German cadastral system and its concepts of Geringstland and Unland. This blog probably does not get more nerdy than that… Geringstland and Unland In the cadastral system, there are different ways of classifying land. James Scott tells us that this kind of „making nature legible“ is…

The Why and How of Global Governors

In 2010, Deborah Avant, Martha Finnemore and Susan Sell coined the term „global governor“ to refer to „authorities who exercise power across borders for purposes of affecting policy“ (Who Governs the Globe?, p. 2). I’m not sure the term „authorities“ is the best one (I’d prefer „actors“) but the remainder of their book makes it clear that they are looking for authority in the legal sense but in the more practical one – a „global governor“ is an actor who gets a seat at the tables of global policy-making. The History and Future of Global Governors Who are the global…

The Conceptual Arbitrariness of Digital Sovereignty

I wrote a commentary on one of my favorite subjects over at Theorieblog, the blog of the Political Theory Section of the German Association for Political Science. They are running a series of posts on sovereignty at the moment. This is the English translation of my post. In digital policy debates in Germany, Europe and the world, the term „digital sovereignty“ has become popular since the early to mid-2010s. In German-language discourse, digital sovereignty means – roughly – the ability to act, resilience, self-determination and/or autonomy in digital contexts of the state, society, private companies or citizens. However, in concrete…