The technopolitics of security: Agency, temporality, sovereignty

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This introduction to the special issue on ‘the technopolitics of security’ outlines key concepts and engages debates pertaining to the relationship between techno-materiality, security governance and struggles over sovereignty. ‘Technopolitics’ refers to the strategic practice of designing and using technologies to enact political goals, producing hybrid forms of power that combine cultural, institutional and technological dimensions. These technopolitical practices give rise to new forms of agency, producing effects unintended by their designers that may alter logics of political contestation and allow technologies to be reappropriated for different political purposes. To illustrate the distributed forms of agency and contingent encounters that the technopolitics approach evokes, the article develops three key aspects of technopolitics in its relationship to security governance: (1) an understanding of agency as distributed between human and non-human actors, but also asymmetric in that human intentionality plays an assembling role that is frequently overrun by the unintended effects; (2) the temporal horizons of imagination and action over which technopolitical interventions unfold, identifying the importance of logics of anticipation and eventization; and (3) the relationship between technopolitics and sovereignty, arguing that it encourages a decentred and materialized understanding of how claims to sovereignty are made and contested.




Müller, F. I., & Richmond, M. A. (2023). The technopolitics of security: Agency, temporality, sovereignty. Security Dialogue, 54(1), 3–20.

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