Seminar: Cult D: The securitisation of cybersecurity and the role of the human factor

Kyle Bester (University of South Africa)

Securitisation Theory, originating from the fields of Political Science and International Relations, has limited representation in humanities, especially psychology. This theory is primarily used to illustrate and map out the procedures through which the state functions as the primary actor that requires protection against existential threats. In recent years, the scope of the theory has been broadened to include emerging security issues, such as cyber-threats, maritime threats, threats to human security, and environmental threats. This addition has enabled a more comprehensive approach to understand how threats move from ordinary issues to the realm of politics. During the course of a given process, it is the individual in a position of authority who holds the power regarding the initiation of a given speech act. As a result, those individuals who are subject to threats must acknowledge them, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, and are subsequently left in a precarious space of acceptance. Furthermore, within the context of Securitisation Theory, the audience is often depicted as being vulnerable and lacking agency. Limited emphasis is placed on the perceptions of threats in social contexts, yet it is these perceptions that influence the human factor’s construction of safety and threats ultimately being positioned as existential. This course provides an introduction of the theory and processes. Furthermore, the course also highlights role of the human factor and their construction of threats within the securitisation process.