Panel 12

The interfaces that inform security knowledge and practice

Organizers: Claudia Aanonsen (1); Rocco Bellanova (2); Georgios Glouftsios (3)

1: NUPI, Norway; 2: Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium; 3: Scuola di Studi Internazionali, Università di Trento, Italy

Topics: Governance of and by data infrastructures; Sociotechnologies of (in)secure worlds to come; Algorithmic knowledge, media ecologies and artificial intelligence

Keywords: Interfaces, Security, Practices, (Critical) Security Studies, New Media Studies

When data analysts sit in front of a screen to identify a potential security threat, it is not only their user interface that is at play. There are many other interfaces that make hardware and software work together (Cramer & Fuller 2008). Besides, these interfaces also translate regulations, security visions and socio-technical controversies bringing together a heterogeneous set of public and private actors that design, use, operate and maintain them (Bellanova & de Goede 2022; Glouftsios 2021). STS and New Media scholarships generally understand interfaces as sites and processes of interaction between humans, hardware and software (Galloway 2012; Suchman 2006). Other approaches see interfaces as trade-zones where actors, knowledge and practices from different worlds meet and influence each other (Amicelle 2022; Barry 2006). We would like to foster the conversation about the promises and challenges of studying those interfaces that inform security knowledge and practice. We would like to ask how interfaces can be conceptualized through the lenses of STS and (Critical) Security Studies, what kinds of interfaces emerge in the wider field of security, what modes of power and ways of doing security they allow for, and how we can empirically study them. By foregrounding interfaces, we do not want to recycle just another buzzword but to explore their analytical potential to better make sense of security knowledge and practice. We also want to understand how the notions of interface and interfacing can enrich the conceptual exchanges between STS and (Critical) Security Studies (Bellanova et al. 2020), and thus how these notions relate to concepts such as ‘assemblage/dispositif’, ‘security chains’ and ‘translation’ (Hookway 2014; de Goede 2018; Pelizza 2021). Therefore, in response to the conference theme focusing on new worlds to come in the face of more-than-human challenges, our non-exhaustive list of potential themes for panel contributions includes:

  • Border security and migration management. How databases shape practices of border control, and the management of migration and asylum.
  • Cybersecurity. How algorithms shape the protection of ‘critical’ information infrastructures and how they mediate surveillance, digital forensics or the production of e-evidence.
  • Intelligence. How ‘covert’ monitoring and surveillance infrastructures contribute to the production and dissemination of security intelligence and how to make such infrastructures public.
  • Policing. How digital technologies implemented in ‘smart’ cities feed into the urbanisation of security and everyday policing work.
  • Warfare. How semi-autonomous weapons systems shape contemporary warfare and what are their ethical, legal and socio-political implications.



Amicelle, Anthony. 2022. “Big data surveillance across fields.” BD&S, 9(2).
Barry, Andrew. 2006. "Technological Zones." EJST 9 (2):239-253.
Cramer, Florian, & Fuller, Matthew. 2008. Interface, in Matthew Fuller (ed.), Software Studies. Cambridge: MIT Press.
Bellanova Rocco and de Goede, Marieke (2022). "The algorithmic regulation of security." R&G 16(1): 102-118
Bellanova, Rocco et al. 2020. "Taking the Trouble." CSoS 8 (2):87-100.
Galloway, Alexander. 2012. The Interface Effect. Cambridge: Polity.
Glouftsios, Georgios. (2021). "Governing border security infrastructures." SD 52(5), 452–470.
Hookway, Branden. 2014. Interface. Cambridge: The MIT Press.
Pelizza, Annalisa. 2021. "Identification as translation." SSS 51(4):487–511.
Suchman, Lucy. 2006. Human-Machine Reconfigurations. Cambridge: CUP.