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From Cyber-Bombs to Political Fallout: Threat Representations with an Impact in the Cyber-Security Discourse

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Abstract

The link between cyberspace and national security is often presented as an unquestionable and uncontested “truth.” However, there is nothing natural or given about this link: It had to be forged, argued, and accepted in the (security) political process. This article explores the constitutive effects of different threat representations in the broader cyber-security discourse. In contrast to previous work on the topic, the focus is not solely on discursive practices by “visible” elite actors, but also on how a variety of less visible actors inside and outside of government shape a reservoir of acceptable threat representations that influence everyday practices of cyber-security. Such an approach allows for a more nuanced understanding of the diverse ways in which cyber-security is presented as a national security issue and of the consequences of particular representations.

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