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Discourse on war in the Information Age: Corpus Assisted Discourse Analysis of the British Defence and Security policies from 1957 to 2011

Tsirigotis, A. A. (2015) Discourse on war in the Information Age: Corpus Assisted Discourse Analysis of the British Defence and Security policies from 1957 to 2011. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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Are future wars between states going to be waged in cyberspace without the necessity of mobilisation of armed forces? In the literature, on the one hand, pundits argue that cyber attacks against the critical infrastructure of states resemble war operations and consider these as the new face of bellicosity. On the other hand, it is argued that cyber weapons do not change the conduct of war because targeting critical infrastructure or defacing web pages is not sufficient to make adversary states comply. For this school of thought, war remains always a mixture of chance, passion and rationality. In this work, cyberspace is considered not as a mere technological product introduced in military operations but as discourse; the cyber discourse narrates life and social activity as a network of entities each one of which develops relationships with what threatens their existence instead of fighting against it. The objective of this work is to examine how the cyber discourse has influenced the British discourse on war from 1957 to 20 II. A corpus of defence and security policies was processed by means of Corpus Assisted Discourse Studies in order to unearth changes in the use of linguistic and semantic resources. This thesis argues that the use of cyberspace for military purposes presupposes the cybemetisation of war, namely the construction of a new conceptualisation of war and military power. This new meaningful construction conceives war as the process of adaptation to an inherently insecure and complex world system, and military power as the capacity to radiate to the world the feeling that Britain is a trustworthy power. The cybemetisation of war does not depend on the technology of cyberspace; it is a new understanding about war and power whereas cyberwarfare is the way that this understanding is put into practice i.e. how it is materialised.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Porter, P. and Golub, J.
Thesis/Report Department:Department of Politics and International Relations
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Politics, Economics and International Relations > Politics and International Relations
ID Code:76519

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