Mayer, Carpes and Knoblich have produced a cutting-edge research agenda for analyzing science and technology in global politics. They develop the concept of “techno-politics” to navigate the spaces between social constructivists (ideas all the way down) and economic determinism. Until recently, most scholars of international politics have treated technology as an exogenous factor – something outside of, or apart from, politics. The “debate” over the role of technology is at once normative and intensely political. Whether one is analyzing climate change, robotic warfare, digital networks, surveillance, or cyber-security, debates can become frozen between conceptualizing technology as either a solution, or as the central problem. Mayer and his co-editors demonstrate the utility of bringing technology back in and of conceptualizing technology as inherently political.
These volumes offer a variety of interdisciplinary middle-range theoretical approaches to explain the role of technology in politics. Examining both the interaction between technology and politics, and the co-production of technology and politics offers a constructive way forward for scholars and students to understand and explain important phenomena in global politics. The editors have assembled a superb team of experts in these volumes and have incorporated an impressive body of scholarly research. These volumes undoubtedly will inspire and help to guide future research on the vital and contested role of technology in global governance, regulation, competition, and security. This is a superb contribution.- Susan K. Sell, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, George Washington University
How exciting it is to see two large, comprehensive, edited volumes on technology and world politics. For years a small number of IR scholars have worked hard to bring the "problem" of technology to the attention of the field. These volumes suggest this may finally happen. They also suggest there is now a critical mass of talented researchers working in the area to constitute a genuine subfield. But these volumes are much more than that. They do not simply create another sandbox for a few initiates to play in. They, individually and collectively, make the case for an truly interdisciplinary engagement with mainstream IR. There is much to admire and learn from here. The most successful volume yet on the new materiality in IR.- Geoffrey Herrera, Fletcher Jones Associate Professor of Political Studies, Pitzer College
These two volumes bring together science and technology studies with international relations. Together they provide in depth insights and examples of the many forms that this project can take. Curious outsiders and interested insiders alike will find the variety of ideas and their combination intriguing, inspiring and enticing. The volumes extend a warm invitation to engage further with a rapidly expanding area of research and contemporary politics.- Anna Leander, Professor with Special Responsibilities, Copenhagen Business School