• AN ACTOR-NETWORK VIEW OF THE CYBER DOMAIN’S EFFECTS ON DEMOCRATIZATION THROUGH ELECTIONS

      Garrett, Eric; Department of Social Sciences (Augusta University, 2020-05)
      Cyberspace conceptualizations include combinations of Internet infrastructure, the devices used to access it, and applications used to encapsulate or communicate data. Other conceptualizations are more abstract. Whether it directly enables democracy as a public sphere, drives economics in the private sector, or securitizes as a domain for information operations, or cyber warfare. These conceptualizations obscure understanding cyberspace’s first order effects on events, and second order understanding related to intelligence and security studies. The research question, can actor-network theory supply a robust theoretical framework to understand and describe cyberspace’s core qualities as a democratizing medium, will be examined in Kenyan, Nigerian, and Zambian use of cyberspace related to elections. Examination of these data points through four elemental characteristics of cyberspace, proliferation, evolution, “spatial hereness,” and linkability, within an actor-network theory will lead to a determination if the totality of cyberspace is a democratizing medium. Lastly, this paper will make general recommendations that can lead to greater understanding of cyberspace that can influence policy and decision making as well as encourage democratic maturity in cyberspace by applying the considerations gained from an actor-network theory perspective.