Enablement besides Constraints: Human security and a Cyber Multi-disciplinary framework in the European High North (ECoHuCy)

The project examines digitisation and cyber security in the European High North (EHN) referring to the northern parts of three Nordic countries: Finland, Sweden and Norway from the human security perspective. The overall research task consists of individualizing and explaining cyber security when it comes to mitigating threats but also to empowering both individuals and communities in EHN to cope with new, ICT-related socio-politico-legal, cultural, economic and environmental challenges.

This task is fulfilled by interrogating the numerous discourses revolving around the multiple conceptualisations of cyber security as well as the practices established on their basis; investigating alternatives to the prevailing technical and national security conceptualisations, in particular, the incorporation of cyber security in the human security agenda; acknowledging that digitisation and cyber security have varying implications in different parts of the Nordic countries and amongst different communities; examining digitisation and cyber security from the perspective of the citizens and communities in EHN with the aim of making their preferences and fears heard; re-defining cyber security from the human security perspective so that both enabling and constraining aspects of security are included in the definition; and by shifting the referent object of cyber security to the human being and treating the citizens and communities in EHN as both objects and subjects of cyber security.

The multidisciplinary framework offered in the project contributes to both theoretical and empirical knowledge formation. Taking EHN as a geographic point makes it possible to do national comparisons alongside comparisons between different thematic entities; cyber security as related to, for example, the realisation of human rights, rights of the indigenous people, societal equality, and environmental threats. Thus, the project has two main objectives: to depict both positive (enabling) and negative (threatening) potentials residing in the digitisation of EHN and to find ways to reinforce the positive potentials while diluting the negative ones, and to highlight the societal cleavages that digitisation of society brings forth and intensifies; including question of access to and freedom of action in cyberspace, needed skills, processes of identity formation, and availability of desired products and services, in order to contribute to solving the existing problem of global law and justice.