Consensual Hallucinations. The politics of identity in dutch cyber security policy

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Cyber security is currently at the top of the Dutch political agenda, and regarded as the newest domain for military operations. Threats in and through cyberspace are considered to be threats against national security and the functioning of Dutch society. The depoliticized character of the language used in the cyber security debate suggests that this is the only acceptable way to talk about this matter; that is to say, the debate appears to be securitized. Still, while securitization theory can reveal how a (perceived) threat can be securitized through discourse, it says little about why one particular (security) discourse becomes dominant rather than another. This thesis examines this question, using a poststructuralist approach to analyze the cyber security debate in the Netherlands. It shows how the debate has transitioned from a technical computer security discourse in the late 1990s to the cyber security discourse of the present. Building on the works of earlier poststructuralists, it argues that identity and policy are mutually constitutive. The link between the two is characterized as an equilibrium that is premised on the idea of state sovereignty: a country’s identity must be protected in a world full of dangerous Others. Therefore, this thesis concludes that the “choice” between discourses is based on the consideration of which discourse is better compatible with state sovereignty.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen