Apocalyptic Visions: Cyber War and the Politics of Time

28 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2013

Date Written: April 25, 2013


This article contributes to the literature on representations of ‘cyber war’, specifically cyber war as a potential form of inter-state war or strategic terrorism. It argues that cyber war can be examined from a chronopolitical perspective; that is, with a concern for how collective understandings of time and temporality influence political behaviours. This article argues that discourses of strategic cyber war are contingent upon an apocalyptic temporality that is itself an expression of postmodernity. Recent speculation on the likelihood of strategic cyber war constructs it as both imminent and unavoidable, an existential catastrophe which forecloses temporal horizons and brings the future forward as a key driver of politics in the present. Cyber war discourses are interrogated here as forms of ‘catastrophic apocalypticism’, in which cyber war as apocalypse is permanently in abeyance, which facilitates a range of opportunities for the politics of security and the expansion of the national security apparatus.

Keywords: catastrophe, chronopolitics, cyber security, cyber war, international security, postmodernity

Suggested Citation

Stevens, Tim, Apocalyptic Visions: Cyber War and the Politics of Time (April 25, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2256370 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2256370

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