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Global Critical Infrastructures at SPS ’23

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At this year’s Science Peace Security conference, I will do two things: give a talk on our Tech War project and present a poster on my Global Critical Infrastructures mega-project. Here’s the extended abstract for the latter:

Critical infrastructure (CRITIS) is “an asset or system which is essential for the maintenance of vital societal functions”. In other words, CRITIS are essential for the supply of populations, but the concept is only ever applied to the national scale. But what are the critical infrastructures of humanity as a whole? In the face of accelerating environmental change, this contributions asks whether humanity’s infrastructures are prepared for supplying all of humankind while adapting to more sustainable modes of governing essential functions. Its main aim is a reconceptualization and a rescaling of the CRITIS concept to a global scale. To that end, it first identifies “core” CRITIS sectors from a comparison of national taxonomies based on CIPedia’s survey. As a next step, the potential for a global approach towards these sectors and their services is assessed with a view towards a sustainable transformation of critical infrastructures, e.g. by prioritizing access to mass transit over individualized car traffic, or by preferring renewable energy generation over fossil fuels. The contribution then sketches a theoretical framework how such global critical infrastructures are currently governed. Drawing on the literatures on global governance and global public goods, it takes a relational approach and focuses on agents and interactions due to the relatively low degree of institutionalization and greater prevalence of market mechanisms compared to other governance fields. Based on this theoretical approach, the contribution offers scope for a normative assessment how global critical infrastructures should be governed to improve access for all of humanity while making infrastructures more ecologically sustainable.

I’m interested in discussing this with other interested researchers and practitioners. Say hi if you’re in Darmstadt or drop me an email!

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