Speaking of hybrid warfare: Multiple narratives and differing expertise in the ‘hybrid warfare’ debate in Czechia

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Abstract

What do we speak of when we speak of ‘hybrid warfare’, a notion that has become prominent in discussions of European security? The article shows that this question is difficult to answer, as the hybrid warfare discourse is not only vague, but also consists of multiple, and at times contradictory, narratives. While talking and writing about supposedly the same thing, participants in the hybrid warfare debate often suggest markedly different ideas about the precise nature and target of the threat, offer different responses and draw upon different expertise. Grounding our argument in critical scholarship on narratives, security knowledge and hybrid warfare, we build a framework for studying security narratives around the four elements of threat, threatened value, response and underlying knowledge. This framework is utilised in a case study of Czechia, a country that has played a pioneering and outsized role in European hybrid warfare debates. We identify three narratives of hybrid warfare – defence, counterinfluence and education – which present markedly different understandings of ‘hybrid warfare’, and ways to defend against it. Our intervention hopes to contribute to disentangling the contradictions of the hybrid warfare discourse, itself a necessary precondition for both sound state policy and an informed public debate.

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APA

Daniel, J., & Eberle, J. (2021). Speaking of hybrid warfare: Multiple narratives and differing expertise in the ‘hybrid warfare’ debate in Czechia. Cooperation and Conflict, 56(4), 432–453. https://doi.org/10.1177/00108367211000799

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