Dr Branch’s presentation will be based on the following:

“Cybersecurity discourses often invoke the non-territorial character of the internet, with efforts by particular states to impose informational control then framed as attempts to territorialize the internet and build boundaries between national network spaces. Yet in nearly all discussions of cybersecurity, the underlying framework relies on territorial ideas and practices, founded on the metaphor of “cyberspace” itself. Thus, the discourses around global computer networks rely on spatial metaphors, whose implicit and explicit entailments shape policy responses and analyses. The U.S. military has declared cyberspace to be the “fifth domain” of operations (alongside land, sea, air, and outer space), and nearly all discussions of cybersecurity have been shaped by the metaphor of cyberspace. Moreover, the concept implies a specifically territorial space of political control and contestation, built on the modern ideal of the territorial state. An examination of cybersecurity policy documents reveals that the underlying spatial metaphor of cyberspace has shaped policy discourses and outcomes, both in the U.S. and elsewhere. Those states seeking to control information by “territorializing” the internet are thus not the only ones relying on territorial concepts and practices.”

Dr Jordan Branch is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Brown University. His research interests include international relations theory, the history of the sovereign state system, contemporary challenges to statehood, and the intersection of technological and political change. In 2014, Cambridge University Press published his book, The Cartographic State: Maps, Territory, and the Origins of Sovereignty. His research has also appeared in International Organization, International Theory, and the European Journal of International Relations.

This event is hosted by NUPI's Cyber Security Centre.

Senior Research Fellow at NUPI Halvard Leira will chair this theory seminar.