Author:Magdalena Freudenschuss (Leuphana Universität Lüneburg)
Paper long abstract:
Digital technology is central to the security architecture of (not only) Western states. Controlling the political opponent, be they politicians, illegalized migrants or political activists, through digital technology stays in line with the military logic of the internet's first steps. Security and control range at the top level of nearly every political agenda - control even seems to overlap all understandings of the political.
At the same time, digital technology restructures political activism. It enlarges their repertoire of action. Anyhow, to make use of the digital also means to expose oneself to new forms of control. Often, political activism's individual as much as collective security is challenged by measures of security taken by those they confront. Digital security seems to be a key answer to these changing conditions of activism in a digitized world.
So it's all about security regimes? The proposed paper is questioning the notion of security as a critical tool for understanding the dynamics between activism and control. Drawing on interviews with political activists the argument evolves along the concept of vulnerability. Resorting especially to feminist theory the paper aims at re-reading what politics mean in digitized societies. Applying the lens of vulnerability reminds us that politics are not to be reduced to security, and it challenges thinking beyond the dichotomy of military and civil. The mapping of vulnerabilities within and through the digital opens up a critical perspective on a hegemonic logic encompassed as much by states as by activists.
Understanding techno-security: On pre-emption, situational awareness and technological superiority