Digital disaster, cyber security, and the copenhagen school

Lene Hansen, Helen Nissenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article is devoted to an analysis of cyber security, a concept that arrived on the post-Cold War agenda in response to a mixture of technological innovations and changing geopolitical conditions. Adopting the framework of securitization theory, the article theorizes cyber security as a distinct sector with a particular constellation of threats and referent objects. It is held that " network security" and " individual security" are significant referent objects, but that their political importance arises from connections to the collective referent objects of " the state," " society," " the nation," and " the economy." These referent objects are articulated as threatened through three distinct forms of securitizations: hypersecuritization, everyday security practices, and technifications. The applicability of the theoretical framework is then shown through a case-study of what has been labeled the first war in cyber space against Estonian public and commercial institutions in 2007.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1155-1175
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Studies Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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