Security and Technology Working Group

Technology is increasingly pivotal to modern security discourse. The rapid expansion of drone warfare; the decision to invest in Trident and Hinkley Point; the role of twitter in the ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings — these issues, and many others, pose complex theoretical questions about technological innovation and its implications. The Technology and Security Working Group of the Global Insecurities Centre was formed to address some of those questions. It brings together a group of SPAIS researchers with diverse interests around the theme of technology and security. Our work, which draws on an eclectic range of social scientific literatures, addresses everything from the politics of nuclear deterrence infrastructures to the development opportunities arising from mobile phones.


Alexis Bedolla Velazquez PhD Candidate: Sociology

My research interest focus on the link between the ‘global health security’ framework’ and the development of new disease surveillance technologies such as multiplex PCR, electronic disease surveillance and Next Generation Sequencing.

Kate Byron PhD Candidate: Security, Conflict and Justice (ESRC)

My research interests lie within the interplay of developments in machine learning, (in)securities, and gendered power relations.

Ryerson Christie

My main research interests focus on the application of critical security studies to the analysis of human security and peacebuilding, and how these practices affect the relationships between local communities, civil society and the state. I am particularly interested in the examination of the roles of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in current security practices. My research has had a geographic focus on Southeast Asia, and Cambodia in particular. Future research projects will be examining the ways in which 'technical' development programs are entwined with broader security practices, and how military-led development programs affect local politics.

John Downer

I am interested in a range of questions relating to technological risk and the epistemology of engineering knowledge-claims, especially as they pertain to complex, safety-critical systems such as jetliners and reactors. Drawing primarily on the Science and Technology Studies literature, I have looked at a range of issues, including: the underlying causes of technological disaster; the politics and credibility of nuclear risk assessments; the close practice of technology regulation; and the policy implications of Fukushima. Outside of this work I have further interests in the social construction of radiological hazard claims, and the politics of nuclear deterrence.

Tim Edmunds

My research focuses on defence and security institutions in processes of political and organisational change, with a particular emphasis on issues of civil-military relations, security sector reform and strategy making. My work emphasises the normative and contested nature of these processes, rather than understanding them as neutral, technocratic process of organisational betterment or strategic necessity. In so doing, I explore the relationship between constraint and agency in defence and security reform, and the manner in which actors and institutions both resist and engage with dynamics of change.  I am also interested in technologies of strategic anticipation.

Adrian Flint

I am interested in how so-called ICT4D (Information and Communication Technologies for Development) platforms might be employed in the context of disaster risk reduction and food security provision.More specifically, I am interested in how social media and mobile phone technology might conceivably be used in the fostering of 'bottom-up' participatory networks focused on the gathering and deployment of real time data (in the form of live maps). This focus has formed the basis for a Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) bid titled: "The Participatory Disaster Risk Reduction and Development (DRRD) Network: Democratising technology-driven approaches".

Ana Juncos Garcia

My primary research interest lies in European foreign and security policy. My previous research project examined the EU’s intervention in Bosnia since the dissolution of the Yugoslav Federation in 1991. This research looked into the impact of institutions on the coherence and effectiveness of EU foreign policy over time and assessed the EU’s contribution to post-conflict stabilisation and conflict resolution in Bosnia. I am also interested in EU enlargement and the Europeanisation of the Western Balkans, EU security sector reform and the institutionalisation of EU foreign policy, in particular, in relation to the newly created European External Action Service.

Winnie King

My research is in two fundamental fields. Firstly, my DPhil focused on the Greater China region, and Taiwan-China political economic relations; the policy making process and how state-non-state actor relations inform top up versus bottom down process of cooperation occuring across the Taiwan Straits.  Building upon this and my background in Economics, my current work on Chinese Financial Liberalisation has been supported by a Fellowship from the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Examining the process of financial liberalisation in the restructuring of the Chinese economic system, I am focusing on the role of Renminbi currency hubs and offshore RMB markets (namely Taiwan, the City of London and Hong Kong) as a means of currency internationalisation. The PRC state and banking system approach to Monetary and Foreign Exchange policy to balance and manage risks are of particular interest; as are the role of swap agreement, clearning hubs, and its growing bond market as instruments for Foreign Policy.

Columba Peoples

I have a broad and ongoing interest in researching how the relationships between technology and security can be theorised, and the potential intersections between philosophy of technology and critical security studies. More specifically, I have particular interests in nuclear and satellite technologies and how they are related to contemporary understandings and practices of security.

Clare Stevens PhD Candidate: Security, Conflict and Justice (ESRC)

I am currently researching the complex and varied range of actors and actants that are involved in the landscape of cybersecurity. Drawing on the IR, security studies, STS and philosophy of technology literatures, I want to investigate whether this landscape can be reconceptualised in ways that offer new insights and perspectives.

Elspeth Van Veeren

My work is focused around three main themes: the mobilization, transformation, and demobilization of security publics; the relationship between domestic and international factors in processes of state and identity formation in connection with concepts and practices of security; and the sociology and politics of knowledge, especially theories of discourse as encompassing the material and visual. I therefore have broader interests in the roles of culture (‘high’ and ‘low’) and media in producing (in)securities. 

Drone swarm

Security and Technology Working Group (STWG) events

PGR Workshop on 13th Sept 2017

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