Violence and the (Social) Construction of Cyber Deterrence
This research aims to develop a new framework for the study of cyber deterrence that will take into account not only traditional factors such as actors’ capability and credibility, but also the social context through which each of these factors are mediated in shaping actors' behavior. A key issue in this regard is whether the means that are operated through cyberspace are constructed as means of violence.
The proposed research seeks to answer two main questions: 1) To what extent and how have countries adopted a cyber deterrence strategy? and 2) Is cyber deterrence an effective strategy—that is, does cyber deterrence affect the willingness to execute cyber-attacks?
My main argument is that an actor’s retaliation is seen as more legitimate if it follows the absorption of “a violent act”, and therefore an actor's deterrent threat is more credible when there is a consensus over whether the act is defined as violent. This influences both the defender (the deterrer actor), specifically, its willingness to adopt this strategy, and the putative challenger—and thus the chances of deterrence success.