Political Science International Relations Job Candidate – Jordan Branch

Thurs, Oct. 31, 2:00PM, Palmer 128

“What’s in a Name: Metaphors and Job Security”

For more than a decade, the United States military has labeled “cyberspace” a domain of conflict, equal to land, sea, air, and outer space. How and why did this terminology emerge and become entrenched in U.S. doctrine? What are its effects? Focusing on the language of cybersecurity, I examine a specific type of metaphor, embedded in terminology, that unconsciously shapes arguments and policy. Unlike analogies and metaphors that are used instrumentally, these foundational metaphors implicitly support particular understandings of complex issues, provide discursive resources to certain arguments over others, and operate by being felt to be commonsensical and beyond debate. I then detail the emergence and consolidation of the foundational metaphor of “cyberspace” in U.S. strategy, revealing its particular connotations and effects. This metaphor has been essential to expanding the role of the military in cybersecurity, and specific interests within the Department of Defense have used “cyberspace” language to argue, successfully, for the creation of U.S. Cyber Command. The institutionalization of this terminology has implications for global cybersecurity cooperation, international law, and internet fragmentation.

Posted by jpauls@coloradocollege.edu for the October 30, 2019 digest.

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