The Case of the "Commons" and Cyberspace: Concept Formation and Social Construction
Connelly, Aaron Louis
Despite conspicuous use of the term "the commons" in the security studies literature, little work has been done to define the concept of "the commons," as used in this context. Nor have scholars closely examined assertions of the existence of a commons in each of the five "domains of warfare," the land, maritime, air, space, and cyberspace domains. This thesis attempts to fill parts of both of these lacunae in the literature.In the first section, I will examine what is meant by "the commons" in the security studies, and then propose a definition of the term based on that examination. In the second section, I will argue that the vigorous expansion of state sovereignty into the cyberspace domain has enclosed the commons there, if indeed it ever existed.In a third section, I will make the case for the construction of a commons in cyberspace through the promotion of technologies and norms of access to cyberspace. These policy implications run against the grain of much recent scholarship on cyberspace in the security studies, in which a single-minded focus on tactical security has precluded careful consideration of the way in which technologies and norms of access support the liberal international system, thereby providing greater security at a strategic level.In doing so, my aim has been to both advance our understanding of the commons in the security studies, and offer a new perspective on the current debate over cyberspace governance.
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