Aspiration is an essential component of politics. It articulates goals, affirms identities and values, and structures action at all levels of social life. Yet political scientists have spent little time theorizing aspiration—what it is, how it relates to other concepts, and the kinds of effects it creates. In this article, we develop the concept theoretically and argue that aspiration creates a distinct "aspirational politics" that differs from our international relations models of both norm-driven social activism and interest-driven rational choice. We identify three core features of aspiration that undergird its theoretical utility: lofty goals, change over time, and transformation through imagination. In the hands of skilled political actors, aspiration does essential work in both facilitating agreement and mobilizing social action that create change in the world. However, aspiration also has a dark side and can be manipulated to dodge accountability, postpone action, and serve private, rather than public, goals.
Abstract Accusations of bad state behaviour in cyberspace are proliferating, yet this increase in naming has not obviously produced much shame. Accused states uniformly deny the accusation or decline to comment, without changing behaviour. For international lawyers, the problem is compounded by the absence of international law in these charges. States are not invoking international law when they complain of other states' behaviour, suggesting the law is weak – or worse, irrelevant – in holding states accountable for their cyber operations. In lieu of 'naming and shaming', we introduce and examine the broader concept of 'accusation' as a social, political and legal practice with diverse uses in cyberspace and beyond. Accusers must make strategic choices about how they frame their accusations, and we unpack various elements accusers may manipulate to their advantage. Accusations also have many purposes. They may seek to 'name and shame' an accused into conforming to certain behavioural expectations, but they may also aim at defensive or deterrent effects on both the accused and, crucially, on third parties. Particularly important, accusations may play a constitutive role, constructing new norms, including customary international law, within the international community. In short, accusations offer states and other stakeholders a menu of strategic options beyond those identified by the extant literature on naming and shaming.
AbstractThis essay steps back from the more detailed regulatory discussions in other contributions to this roundtable on "Competing Visions for Cyberspace" and highlights three broad issues that raise ethical concerns about our activity online. First, the commodification of people—their identities, their data, their privacy—that lies at the heart of business models of many of the largest information and communication technologies companies risks instrumentalizing human beings. Second, concentrations of wealth and market power online may be contributing to economic inequalities and other forms of domination. Third, long-standing tensions between the security of states and the human security of people in those states have not been at all resolved online and deserve attention.
On February 16, 2016, a U.S. court ordered Apple to circumvent the security features of an iPhone 5C used by one of the terrorists who committed the San Bernardino shootings. Apple refused. It argued that breaking encryption for one phone could not be done without undermining the security of encryption more generally. It made a public appeal for "everyone to step back and consider the implications" of having a "back door" key to unlock any phone—which governments (and others) could deploy to track users or access their data. The U.S. government eventually withdrew its suit after the F.B.I. hired an outside party to access the phone. But the incident sparked a wide-ranging debate over the appropriate standards of behavior for companies like Apple and for their customers in constructing and using information and communication technologies (ICTs). That debate, in turn, is part of a much larger conversation. Essential as the Internet is, "rules of the road" for cyberspace are often unclear and have become the focus of serious conflicts.