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Schlagwort: Cyberspace

Narratives of Digital Sovereignty is a Top Cited Paper

So, apparently Kai Oppermann’s and my paper „Narratives of Digital Sovereignty in German Political Discourse“ is a top-cited paper for the 2021-2022 period in the journal Governance! And I have to be honest – that gave me a little thrill. I’m never too old to enjoy a pat on the head. It is certainly one of my papers that has generated the most responses. At digital policy meetings and conferences, I’ve had repeated cases of people saying that they read and liked it. Which is, of course, enormously gratifying, given how little attention most other academic articles get. It is…

Overlapping Territory

Yesterday’s discussion about internet fragmentation and digital sovereignty was fantastic. Francesca Musiani and Fernanda Rosa brought really interesting perspectives to the table – one from a European STS scholar, the other from a Latin American anthropologist – and Milton Mueller was an incisive and insightful commentator. (Go read some of their writings, they are all very good!) The event was livestreamed on Youtube and a recording will be made available shortly. During my initial comments, I made the point that I’d much rather talk about digital territory than digital sovereignty. When countered that this carries the risk of imposing physical…

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…

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…

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…

Never Mind Digital Sovereignty, Let’s Talk Digital Territory

This is my introductory statement for tonight’s panel discussion on the „Politics of (Dis)Connection“. [EDIT: The event had to be cancelled. I will let you know once a new date has been scheduled.] [EDIT: The discussion has been rescheduled for 8 February 2023.] In this input I want to talk about digital sovereignty, a very popular term, particularly from a European perspective. I want to make three points in this statement: 1) Digital sovereignty is useful for politics but bad for policy, 2) the EU and member states‘ governments use digital sovereignty to articulate a position vis-à-vis a threatening digitalisation,…

Sovereignty and Territory on the Internet

Next week, 23 November 2022, I will participate in an online panel discussion on the „Politics of (Dis)Connection“ organized by Niels ten Oever for the Amsterdam Centre for European Studies. The precis for the event is as follows: The possible establishment of a sovereign internet in Russia, European initiatives on ‘Digital Sovereignty’, and the conflict between China and the United States over Huawei equipment are rekindling the discussion on splinternets and the limits to global interconnectivity. Can the internet, the original network of networks, resist the contemporary strain, or was it built to accommodate these differences? That’s a big question…

Oligarchs and Global Political Agency

As we are watching the results of the US midterm elections trickle in on our livefeeds (FiveThirtyEight for me; first impression: it’s looking better for the Democrats than expected), I am again reminded how Elon Musk urged his fans to vote Republican. Yesterday, I could only address this in parentheses and called it „ridiculous“ but I want to explain this a little more. My main point is not that Musk is a maverick daredevil who plays by own rules – from a historical perspective, Musk is not atypical for a particular class of businessmen that are gaining prominence again in…

Critical Musk Studies

When I announced last week that I would delete my Twitter account shortly, I did it with the expectation that Twitter would – in the long run – devolve into an alt-right shadow of itself. Filled with FrEe SpEeCh advocates who are very concerned about their god-given right to shout racial slurs, literal neo-Nazis, as well as the remains of the more respectable and/or unpolitical Twitterati who haven’t noticed the change or don’t care about it. Basically, a Parler with a broader user base and an inherited veneer of respectability, however long it may last. Well, I am the first…