Epistemic Warfare: Deception, Communication and Hybridity in International Security

Samuel Forsythe's dissertation project examines the relation­ship and develop­ment of political conflict, infor­mation and communi­cation tech­nology (ICT) and strategic practice. It focuses on the develop­ment of theories, practices and discourses that instrumen­talize knowledge, cognition and communi­cation as political and military means. The moti­vation for the study is the question: How have new media and tech­nologies enabled and trans­formed conflicts in the communi­cative and cognitive spheres?

The working hypo­thesis is that ICT promotes the inten­sification of types of conflict that stress stratagem, deception and manipu­lation as essential instru­ments for political actors and at the same time enable the dissemi­nation of these instru­ments among non-state actors. Further­more, the "hybrid" character of today's society - in which tech­nology exter­nalizes our cognitive and com­municative processes - creates a situation in which attacks on infor­mation processing systems can con­stitute a form of violence.

Empiri­cally, the research project includes an analysis of the new forms of strategic ratio­nality developed through the discourse and practices of states­manship, intel­ligence and infor­mation warfare, cyber and infor­mation security, and their inter­actions with the broader field of social communi­cation and collective epis­temic practice.