War in the digital age: Informational power, geopolitics, and the fifth dimension [Paper presentation]


In the last decade, a growing literature has suggested the need for a new set of classes of ’new’ forms of war as the result of a shift to a postmodernist worldwide environment. This paper argues that the shifts in the forms and patterns of warfare and strategy are, however, consistent with earlier changes as a result of shifts in socio-technological paradigms. Rather than aiming to identify ’new classes’ of war, we argue here for the need to focus on the growing strategic importance of the fifth dimension of strategic power—the digital infosphere (together with sea, land air, and space)—as the result of the rise of a new commercial and organizational setting in the form of a digitally based informational network economy. Arguing from a geopolitical viewpoint, the paper identifies consistent with existing frameworks this informational environment, its impact on strategy, and the meaning of power. It then provides an empirical measure of informational capability that allows us to get a fuller picture of the power-share of actors in the international system and a comparison with existing measures of capability and power-share.

45th Annual Meeting of the International Studies Association (ISA), Portland, OR
Joachim K. Rennstich
Joachim K. Rennstich
Professor International Social Work and Research Methods

My research interests include the long-term development of digital capitalism, digital literacy and innovative teaching-methodologies.