Cyberspace and the nature of the state

On December 12, 2014 two IGP principals, Hans Klein and Milton Mueller, organized an invitation-only workshop on the topic of Sovereignty, National Security and Internet Governance in New York City. The initial inspiration for the workshop came from Dr. Mueller’s engagement with the work of Philip Bobbitt. Bobbitt’s book The Shield of Achilles posited historically-grounded theories about how changes in the form taken by the state were related to changes in military technology and constitutional orders. Finding these ideas unique and interesting contributions to ongoing debates over the changing role of the state in Internet governance, Mueller leaned heavily on Bobbitt’s work in developing his paper Are we in a digital Cold War?, which recently won the best paper award in the International Communications division of the International Studies Association. But he was also curious about what other scholars, especially political scientists, thought about Bobbitt’s ideas. Finding little critical or theoretical literature taking up those ideas, Mueller consulted with political scientist Hans Klein at the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Public Policy. Together, they developed a plan to bring together a select group of scholars to explore the applicability of Bobbitt’s ideas to the question whether cyberspace is changing the nature of the state.

The workshop that resulted from their collaboration was a very successful and productive event. A group of 14 recognized experts from Internet studies, international law, national security studies, political science, and political geography traded observations in a balanced and interdisciplinary way. The attached proceedings summarize the interactions at the workshop. The participants were Philip Bobbitt, Columbia University/University of Texas; Jeremy Crampton, University of Kentucky; Camille Francois, Harvard Berkman Center; Jack Goldsmith, Harvard Law; Hans Klein, Georgia Institute of Technology; Catherine Lotrionte, Georgetown University; Tim Maurer, New America Foundation OTI ; Milton Mueller, Syracuse University; Helen Nissenbaum, NYU; Lou Pauly, University of Toronto; David Post, Temple Univesity; Wolf Schuenemann and Sebastian Stier, Heidelberg University; and Peter Swire, Georgia Institute of Technology.

We’ve summarized these fascinating interactions in a short (20 page) proceedings that you can download here.

3 comments

  1. Pingback: Ausführlicher Bericht über den Workshop zu Internet und Souveränität – Wolf J. Schünemann
  2. Wout de Natris

    Yesterday in a meeting I heard the bold expression: “10 years from now nation states will start to matter less and less in a hyper-connected world”. Unfortunately I do not know the affiliation of the speaker. Although I’ve heard this years before, but then from a multinational corporation point of view, the question is whether nation states that fight Internet governance and freedom of speech opportunities through the Internet are taking their last, irrelevant stand or that the view of Mr. Morozov will prevail? As always, interesting times.