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Matthias Schulze, M.A.

Promotionsvorhaben: From Cyberutopia to Cyberwar: Advovacy Coalitions and the Normative Change in Cyberspace

Matthias Schulze
Vita / Akademische Laufbahn
  • 2012 – 2017: Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Lehrstuhl für Internationale Beziehungen
  • 2014: Mitglied der Deutschen Vereinigung für Politische Wissenschaft
  • 2014: Mitglied des Surveillance Studies Network
  • 2014: Mitglied des Kölner Forum für Internationale Beziehungen und Sicherheitspolitik (KFIBS)
  • 2012: Examenspreis des Instituts für Politikwissenschaft
  • 2012 – 2017: Promotionsstudent am Lehrstuhl für Internationale Beziehungen
  • 2010-2011: Erasmus-Tutor an der Universität Jena
  • 2009: Praktikant bei der Hessischen Stiftung für Friedens und Konfliktforschung Frankfurt, Schwerpunkt Außenpolitik Schwedens
  • 2008-2009: Studium „European Political Sociology“ an der Högskolan Dalarna in Schweden
  • 2005-2011: Magisterstudium der Politikwissenschaft / Soziologie / Philosophie an der Friedrich Schiller Universität Jena, Magisterarbeit zum sicherheitspolitischen Diskurs um Vorratsdatenspeicherung und Online-Durchsuchung

From Cyberutopia to Cyberwar: Advovacy Coalitions and the Normative Change in Cyberspace

This project analyzes a normative change in state perception and behavior regarding the socio-technical system called Internet: a change from norms of utopian economic liberalism to norms of realism, militarization and surveillance. How states perceive the technology influences how they act upon it. The outcome of this change can be seen in state instruments aiming at controlling Cyberspace, whether in form of content controls like censorship, or in form of structural control, i.e. in forms of politics aiming at capabilities to control, disrupt or destroy critical infrastructure (called offensive Cyberwar) and global surveillance of Internet data streams (‘full take’ principle) as indicated by leaks of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Since several years, scholars from various disciplines (surveillance studies, digital humanities) observe a so called militarization and securitization of Cyberspace (Bendrath 2001; Deibert 2003; Latham 2003).States begin to exercise influence and project power within this new digital domain, predominantly driven by a military logic. This phenomenon can be observed within all western democratic as well as non-democratic states alike. For example, as a response to the Snowden leaks, the former German minister for the interior, Hans Peter Friedrich argued in favor of surveillance: „a loss of control monitoring communication of criminals must be compensated by new technological and legal means (Spiegel 2013). This is an expression of a new norm that increasingly guides states behavior regarding the Internet: the state ought to control this technology, communication and human interaction therein. To trace the genesis and the evolution of this new norm of control, indicated by policies such as offensive Cyberwar, surveillance and forms of Internet content- and access-controls (Deibert et al. 2010) is the aim of this thesis.Norms of control might not be a totally new phenomena since states always tend to execute control over new communications- and information technologies (see wiretapping of telegraphy) but it can be argued that its dominance of norms of control is a rather recent and puzzling phenomenon. Not long ago, during the mainstream diffusion of the internet technology (based on the WorldWideWeb and the TCP/IP protocols), most Western states adopted a totally different political perspective on this technology. Instead of ‘full take’ the maxim was a neoliberal inspired ‘hands-off’ and laissez-faire approach (Deibert 2003). The guiding norms for political behavior where that the states better not interfere with the new technology and market forming around it (.com or new economy) (Burman 2003).The Internet was perceived as a means of democratization and liberalization that would transform whole societies, especially authoritarian regimes because of the idea of the ‘dictators dilemma’:  former Secretary of State George P. Shultz argued that: either authoritarian states introduce the new technologies to gain economic advantages (which negates their monopoly over information) or they block it and fall back economically (while maintaining the information monopoly). The idea, that states could or should control the new information and communication technology was perceived as bad for innovation, undemocratic and even impossible. Former president Bill Clinton said in 2000:  „Trying to control the internet is like trying to nail Jell-o to the wall“. Within the public discourse, the technology was described predominantly with positive metaphors such as that the free exchange of information on the ‘global information superhighway’ would bring a new ‘information age’ and globally connect mankind within a ‘global village’ or ‘global town square’ of deliberative democracy.

The topic of this dissertation is the interrelation between state power, social  norms and new technologies. The guiding question is: Which process leads to a dominance of norms of control over cyberspace guiding state action? Which implication has this norm change for the technology itself? The goal is to process-trace the militarization of Cyberspace thesis in a longitudinal case study in greater detail. For doing this, an interdisciplinary approach is chosen combining theoretical elements from International Relations, Sociology, Science and Technology Studies and Surveillance studies into one framework guiding this analysis.

The main argument is that norms change with paradigms held by the dominant actors, such as politicians, user or engineers. Paradigms include belief sets, ideas and also norms that guide human behavior. At the same time they shape problem perceptions, definitions and solution strategies, for example whether to opt for technical or political solutions. The concept of paradigms, as developed by Thomas Kuhn (1970), allows to grasp and compare different social dynamics between different user constellations as well as their perception of technology. Kuhn argued, that certain paradigms can become dominant, or hegemonic. This means that its problem definitions and solution-strategies dominante the public discourse about technology. Social paradigms compete with each other in a struggle for hegemony which becomes visible by analyzing public discourses. A dominant paradigm has bigger chances that its norms become diffused to a wider audience.

Initially, the thesis theorized three different major paradigms for state action in Cyberspace, as Manjikian (2010) developed them:

First, an early cyber-utopianist paradigm developed by the early adopters of networking technology, i.e. engineers, computer scientists. It co developed together with the early computer networks such as the ARPANET and other virtual communities and what is generally described as the hacker-culture (Levy 1994). This is where the term Cyberspace, as coined by William Gibson (1984), originates. Central for this paradigm is the optimist technical determinism: technology transforms human relations by creating a separate sphere, the Cyberspace in which race, gender, geography and materiality is secondary. The Internet is about the free sharing of information and software and creates a new human communication meta-structure. Open source norms and the idea of free exchange of information are core norms within this paradigm. It can be paraphrased by the famous quote „Information wants to be free“.

Second, with the invention of the WorldWideWeb and the Hypertext Transfer Protocol by Tim Berners-Lee, the mainstream diffusion of the Internet begins and thus new actors enter the scene. During the 1990s the Internet gets liberalized and is perceived mainly in economical terms. Hence, the cyber-utopian paradigm evolves into a new, cyber liberal paradigm. Here, the Internet is perceived as a tool for the economy. Information is not for sharing, but for selling. Information is money. The digitization creates new goods (digital media) and many of the big Internet corporations (such as Amazon, Ebay, Google) are formed within this period. This paradigm is supported by the Clinton administration. During the 2000s, this paradigm transforms into the Californian ideology and drives innovations such as the current Big-data hype: the idea to convert everything into digital data and running intelligent algorithms to calculate the future.

9/11 marks a critical juncture and a shock moment because it helps to propel a military inspired paradigm into the public discourse which gets dominant throughout the 2000s. This cyber-realist paradigm includes neoconservative ideas such as ‘network centric warfare’, ‘information warfare’ and the ‘transformation or revolution of military affairs’ (Freedman 2006). Cyberspace is not perceived as an optimist utopia, but as a new domain for war (against terrorism). The Internet is defined as a problem: a dangerous place where terrorists and other criminals lurk because the state is not able to reach them. This problem definition drives political solutions that culminate in new surveillance efforts and the aforementioned full-take principle. Information is not free or to be shared, but a weapon that needs to be controlled. The Internet becomes a threat for national security. This paradigm is based on a negative technological determinism: cyberspace is out of control and therefore policies and technologies need to be implemented, that allow state access and control (Herrera 2003). Norms of control and surveillance are central to this paradigm.

It is important to stress, that political paradigms guide state action and therefore norms, but also drive technological change. Paradigms shape technological designs. The Internet technologies (TCP/IP and WWW) have their origins in an optimist paradigm held by scientists and engineers at ARPA and other institution. The original internet was invented to serve the needs of science and therefore scientific norms and principles became embedded within this technology. If the current cyber-realist paradigm remains hegemonic, it is likely that it will change the technological structure of the Internet, because technologies are not fixed objects, but subject to change. The danger of this development is that the Internet as we know it gets altered because of concerns for state power and national security, thus negating its original function: the sharing of ideas and resources and the idea to enable communication between communities.

  • neue Entwicklungen in der Sicherheitspolitik (Cyber Security, Cyber War)
  • Securitization und Militarization
  • Überwachung und digitale Technologien
  • Netzpolitik und der Einfluss des Internets auf Politik und Gesellschaft, Internet Governance
  • Genese und Verbreitung von Normen in politischen Diskursen, Sozialkonstruktivismus
  • Inter-organisationale Beziehungen und policy-Netzwerke
  • Philosophy of Science and Methods of International Relations Research (Case Studies, Process Tracing, Social Network Analysis, Critical Discourse Analysis)
Betreuung von BA und MA Arbeiten 
folgende Themen habe ich bereits als Erst- oder Zweitgutachter betreut:
  • Die ALBA – Staatenbund oder Spielball Venezuelas
  • Kanadas Energiepolitik. Energiereichtum als Spannungsfeld zwischen Innen- und Außenpolitik
  • Die Außenpolitik Irlands seit den 1990er Jahren – bewährte Praxis oder Neuausrichtung?
  • Eine kritische Analyse des Erklärungspotenzials ausgewählter Theorien der Internationalen Beziehungen im Bezug auf die Tschetschenienkriege von 1991 und 1999
  • Internationale Sozialisation als Machtbeziehung – Die Internalisierung der Geldwertstabilitätsnorm in Griechenland und Polen
  • Das Soft-Power Potenzial der Europäischen Union als Akteur im Internationalen System
  • Bedrohungsszenarien im Cyberspace – Securitization in Deutschland und den USA
  • Repatriation and the Refugee Regime. The Case of Bosnia
  • Schulze, M. (2017). Clipper Meets Apple vs. FBI—A Comparison of the Cryptography Discourses from 1993 and 2016. Media and Communication5(1). (PDF)
  • Ries, Florian/ Schulze, Matthias. Social Network Analysis in Inter-Organizational Relations, in: Biermann, Rafael/ Koops, Joachim (eds.) Palgrave Handbook on Interorganizational Relations (to be published in 2016).
  • Schulze, Matthias, (2016), “(Un)Sicherheit hinter dem Bildschirm: Die Versicherheitlichung des Internets, in: Masala, Carlo/Fischer, Susanne (Hrsg.): Innere Sicherheit nach 9/11. Sicherheitsbedrohungen und (immer) neue Sicherheitsmaßnahmen? Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.
  • Schulze, Matthias (2015). Patterns of Surveillance Legitimization: The German Discourse on the NSA Scandal. Surveillance & Society 13(2): 197-217.
  • Schulze, Matthias (2014), It’s not Cyberwar, stupid!” Gastbeitrag zum Blogforum Cyberpeace auf www.sicherheitspolitik-blog.org
  • Schulze, Matthias (2012), Die Sprache der Unsicherheit. Die Konstruktion von Bedrohung im Sicherheitspolitischen Diskurs der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Wissenschaftliche Beiträge aus dem Tectum Verlag: Reihe Politikwissenschaften,  - Weitere Informationen finden Sie hier
  • Workshop @ Karl-Arnold Stiftung, Sicherheitspolitisches Seminar “Kampfdrohnen, Roboter und der Krieg der Zukunft. Die Auswirkungen neuer Waffen und Aufklärungssysteme auf zukünftige Kriege”, Vortrag zum Thema “Der Cyber Space als Kriegsschauplatz – Gefährdungseinschätzung und Sicherheitsstrategien der westlichen Staaten”, 15.07.2016
  • CyCon 2016 – Cyber Power,  organised by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, 1-3 June 2016. Participating as guest.
  • 15th Annual STS Conference Graz 2016 – Critical Issues in Science, Technology and Society Studies, 9-10 May 2016, Paper presentation on “From End-to-End to Total Control. Technological Dramas and NSA Counter-Artifacts to the Internet”
  • 7th Biannual Surveillance and Society Conference in Barcelona (20-23 April 2016), Paper presentation “IR turning to the dark side. A Bourdieu-inspired analysis of the dark norm of espionage.”
  • Vortrag “Crash Course Krieg im/mit dem Internet” Reservistenkameradschaft Jena, 5.12.2015.
  • 17-18 Oktober 2014, 2nd Graduate Conference. Why Discourse Matters? in Frankfurt a.M.
  • 9-10 Oktober 2014, DVPW Workshop Constructivist Theories of Practice. Paper on “Technology, Norms and the Surveillance Practice”
  • 25-27 September 2014, DVPW Annual Conference (International Relations Section) in Magdeburg, Germany.
  • 1-4 September 2014,”Text Mining in Political Science”, Workshop from the ePol-Project in Hamburg, Germany.
  • 24 -26 April 2014 “6th Biannual Surveillance and Society Conference in Barcelona. Paper on the surveillance legitimization discourse in Germany
  • 20. November 2013 Workshop for authors, SIRA Security Project Munich
  • 17. November 2012 DGFP Annual Conference