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Conceptualising social media and critical security studies in the digital age

Downing, Joseph (2023) Conceptualising social media and critical security studies in the digital age. In: New Security Challenges. New Security Challenges. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 23-70.

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Identification Number: 10.1007/978-3-031-20734-1_2


This chapter sets out with an ambitious goal—to situate a discussion of social media and critical security studies in its broader conceptual and theoretical context. A key take-home is that the critical turn in security studies has a lot of gain from an increased focus on social media. The deeply hierarchical Copenhagen school’s notion of elite actors being those that can, and do, securitise situations (Buzan and Wæver in Review of International Studies 23:241–250, 1997) needs significantly revisiting if we are to take account of both the greater range of voices taking part in security debates on social media, and indeed how, if and when security elites use social media to deploy this kind of security speak. The Welsh school, with its focus on emancipation (Wyn Jones 1999), did not consider the possibilities for both progress and impediment made possible for “discursive emancipation” by social media platforms. The Paris school has insights as it argues for the broadening of the field and the destruction of disciplinary which specifically argues for the incorporation of criminology and sociology into the security studies lexicon. The vernacular security studies (Bubandt in Security Dialogue 36:275–296, 2005; Jarvis in International Studies Review 21:107–126, 2019; Jarvis and Lister in International Relations 27:158–179, 2012) agenda aims to take account for the ever multiplying range of security speak “from below” that their exciting theoretical work entails. The same can be said for the daunting possibilities that critical terrorism studies (Jackson in European consortium for political research) opens up for understanding the constructions of terrorism on social media. However, examining the literature on critical security studies only takes this book so far, and it is also required to examine the plethora of excellent work on a range of technology and security intersections from other disciplines, such as information systems and criminology. While the relationship of technology and security goes back to antiquity, the growth of hacking and cybercrime (Alexandrou in Cybercrime and information technology: The computer network infrastructure and computer security, cybersecurity laws, Internet of things (IoT), and mobile devices. CRC Press, 2021) are also important areas that have received, and no doubt deserve to receive, only ever more and more attention from a range of security scholars because of their enormous range of applications.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: © 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.
Divisions: European Institute
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
J Political Science
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2023 11:09
Last Modified: 26 May 2024 05:09

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