ESF Strategic Workshop on Cyber Security


ESF Strategic Workshop


Europe and the Global Information Society Revisited: Developing a Network of Scholars and Agenda for Social Science Research on Cyber Security

Workshop program



Date: Monday 7 June - Tuesday 8 June

Location: Central European University, Budapest 

High level cyber attacks - such as the recent attacks on Google in China and those in Estonia, Georgia and South Korea - have served as a wake-up call to policy makers, industry leaders and civil society within Europe and elsewhere.  Several countries have or are in the process of developing cyber security strategies, often combining defensive and offensive capabilities to counter threats in cyberspace.  The once utopian narrative that was associated with the Global Information Society seems to become replaced with a more alarmist one.

Markle Foundation blog on cyber security

However, what form such policies should take, how such policies impact public life, what kind of narratives exist across countries and how privacy and other human rights may be affected remain unclear.  Little scholarship exists that goes beyond a technical and policy orientation and considers these and other related issues from a social sciences perspective.  There is clearly a need to revisit our vision of the Global Information Society but we lack the analysis and research foundation to do so.

Aims of the workshop

stock illustrationThe aim of the workshop is to help develop a broader and more systematic understanding of the interplay between technological innovations and geopolitical conditions, and its impact on cyber security from a social science perspective.  The workshop also aims to map the state of analysis around specific questions in the field of cyber security studies, such as: How are different organizations (states, institutions. particular alliances and interest groups) within the European Union (EU) and elsewhere defining responses to cyber security? What are the emerging competing frameworks and narratives of cyber security threats and intervention? How can institutional analysis be brought to bear to explain and improve approaches to state entities dealing with these questions?

On a more practical level, we will explore how the current gap between practice and theory within the social science on cyber security might be bridged, and what funding patterns are emerging regarding social science and cyber security.

Finally, the workshop will consider human rights concerns and the relationship between security and privacy needs. What new vulnerabilities come with emerging technologies and their impact on security and innovation?  What is the broader impact of cyber security policy on public life?

Workshop organizers

Stefaan Verhulst, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Global Communication Studies (CGCS) and Center for Media and Communication Studies (CMCS), and Chief of Research, Markle Foundation

Kate Coyer, Director, Center for Media and Communication Studies (CMCS)

Monroe Price, Chair, Center for Media and Communication Studies (CMCS), and Director, Centre for Global Communication Studies (CGCS), Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania

For questions, please contact Workshop Coordinator Roxana Radu, radur AT

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