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Lecture | LUCIS What's New?! Series

The Politics of Cybersecurity in the Middle East

Thursday 8 October 2020
This is a hybrid live event. We welcome 20 attendees maximum on location and stream simultaneously.
What's New?! Fall 2020 Lecture Series
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

In this presentation, James Shires explores the politics of cybersecurity in the Middle East. This is a crucial task at a theoretical level, providing new insight into debates around global practices of cybersecurity governance, and at a practical level, for individuals, policymakers and organizations in these states and working with them. The focus of the presentation is transnational, treating cybersecurity in the Middle East, especially in Egypt and the GCC states, as crossing both national borders and public and private sectors.

Given significant differences within and between these states, and drawing on extensive fieldwork conducted for his doctoral dissertation, James Shires focusses on the regional cybersecurity professional community: technological experts who identify and respond to threats in cyberspace. His central argument is that the label of cybersecurity itself is repeatedly repurposed by these experts through what James calls ‘moral manoeuvres’, and thereby used to justify a wide range of practices including social media regulation, critical infrastructure protection, and targeted and mass surveillance. Cybersecurity is thus an integral and increasingly important aspect of politics in the Middle East.


About James Shires

James Shires is an Assistant Professor at the Institute for Security and Global Affairs, University of
Leiden, and a non-resident research fellow with the Cyber Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School. He is also a Research Affiliate with the Centre for Technology and Global Affairs at the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford. He holds a DPhil in International Relations from the University of Oxford, an MSc from Birkbeck College, University of London and a BA from the University of Cambridge. His research examines cybersecurity in the Middle East, focusing on the interaction between threats to individuals, states and organizations, new regional dynamics, and the development of cybersecurity expertise. He has written widely on cybersecurity and international politics and has won awards from the Hague Program on Cyber Norms, the German Marshall Fund and the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Register here

Please note that this is a hybrid event presented live and streamed simultaneously. We welcome up to twenty attendees to join the lecture live in Lipsius room 0.03. If you want to attend online please register below to receive the link to the lecture.

Register here
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