How (not) to talk about technology: International Relations and the question of agency

M. Leese, M. Hoijtink

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In advances in both physical and digital aspects of technology have led to the development of powerful new technologies such as so-called Autonomous Weapons Systems, algorithmic software tools for counterterrorism and security, or “smart” CCTV surveillance. International Relations (IR) answers to “the question concerning technology,” to borrow from M. Heidegger’s seminal essay, have come with quite a degree of variance, depending on assumptions about the essence of the international system, the possibilities and conditions for change or stability, and the general relationship between technology, politics, and society. In IR, agency has been most prominently discussed as part of the “agent-structure problem”. Starting from the question whether human agency or the social structure within which it is embedded determines international action, debates about agency have mostly been concerned with how to situate agency and structure vis-à-vis each other, as well as vis-a-vis monocausal structuralist or intentionalist theories.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTechnology and Agency in International Relations
EditorsMarijn Hoijtink, Matthias Leese
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9780429463143
ISBN (Print)9781138615397
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameEmerging Technologies, Ethics and International Affairs


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