Cybersecurity Research Meets Science and Technology Studies

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

Cybersecurity Research Meets Science and Technology Studies


  • Myriam Dunn Cavelty Center for Security Studies, ETH Zürich, Switzerland


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Abstract:  This article sets out to show how different understandings of technology as suggested by Science and Technology Studies (STS) help reveal different political facets of cybersecurity. Using cybersecurity research as empirical site, it is shown that two separate ways of understanding cybertechnologies are prevalent in society. The primary one sees cybertechnologies as apolitical, flawed, material objects that need to be fixed in order to create more security; the other understands them as mere political tools in the hands of social actors without considering technological (im)possibilities. This article suggests a focus on a third understanding to bridge the uneasy gap between the two others: technology defined as an embodiment of societal knowledge. The article posits that in line with that, the study of cyberpolitics would benefit from two innovations: a focus on cybersecurity as social practice―enacted and stabilized through the circulation of knowledge about vulnerabilities―and a focus on the practices employed in the discovery, exploitation and removal of those vulnerabilities.

Keywords:  actor-network theory; cybersecurity; cyberwar; science and technology studies; sociology of knowledge

Published:   11 June 2018


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/pag.v6i2.1385


© Myriam Dunn Cavelty. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.