Virtual Territories: War and the State in a Digital Age


ACLS Fellowship Program




This project explores how digital technologies of warfare are reshaping the sovereign state. Historically, states emerged out of institutional changes driven in large part by military competition. Today, however, the technologies of war—rather than war itself—are driving state transformation. While technological innovation is forcing states to adapt, states are deploying new tools to pursue their interests and even reshaping technological systems in return. “Virtual Territories” examines three intersections between information technologies, warfare, and sovereign statehood today: planning wars in the virtual domain of cybersecurity, fighting wars remotely through drones, and negotiating resolutions to conflicts through geospatial technologies. Drawing on interviews, archival research, and a close analysis of texts, the book focuses on the role of visual, linguistic, and conceptual representations: representations of digital technologies and through them. Concentrating on representational devices and practices bridges the traditional divide between ideational and material theories of contemporary state transformation.