Vic Castro forsvarer sin ph.d.-afhandling ved Institut for Statskundskab



Vic Castro


"Technology, the Speech Act: Mechanical Embodiments of Cybersecurity and International Politics".


Afhandlingen vil være tilgængelig til gennemsyn på Det Samfundsvidenskabelige Fakultetsbibliotek, Gothersgade 140, 1123 København K.

Tid og sted

Fredag den 8. marts 2024 klokken 14:00 på Københavns Universitet, Center for Sundhed og Samfund, lokale 1.1.18. Af hensyn til kandidaten lukkes dørene præcis klokken 14:00.


  • Lektor Jonathan Luke Austin (Chair), University of Copenhagen
  • Seniorforsker Myriam Dunn Cavelty, ETH Zürich
  • Professor Michael C. Williams, University of Ottawa


How does digital technology ‘act’ to disrupt existing socio-political orders? Software is made of (computing) language, like speech acts, but constrains as unescapably as matter. Its actions are determined by its code, but are also chaotic in their wider consequences. To understand these tensions, this dissertation develops a framework called mechanicity. The “mechanical”, in the 17th-century European scientific revolution, did not necessarily conjure images of authoritarian determinism. It instead pointed to a disorderly universe, moved by the unruly agency of matter, where the very possibility of political order was an acute question. The line between messy materiality and orderly society was drawn at the boundary of human skin – a line that cyberspace is now blurring again. The dissertation brings together critical security studies, realist International Relations theory, science and technology studies, and Hobbesian political philosophy to think through the place of the mechanical in international anarchy, human embodiments, and the cyber age. It finally applies its insights to two cases of cybersecurity controversies on smartphone encryption and mercenary spyware.