In this first episode of Hypervelocity I was delighted to speak with Dr Matthew Ford and Professor Andrew Hoskins about their new book, Radical War: Data, Attention and Control in the Twenty-First Century. In Radical War, Matthew and Andrew recount how the smartphone, social media and big data are revolutionising the conduct and experience of war to the point that the battlefield is now everywhere. We began our discussion by defining the concept of 'radical war', finding it to differ from earlier definitions of war due to the interpenetrated nature of conflict in the modern era where everyone with a smartphone can view and participate in real time combat. Next, we explored whether Baudrillard's claim that 'the Gulf War did not take place' is only amplified in an era of Radical War, finding that whereas Baudrillard pointed to hyperreal warfare as a highly polished and sanitised spectacle by legacy media, instead 'radical war' represents a splintering of realities with as many different interpretations of a conflict as there are subscribers to social media platforms. We then clarified how the concepts of data, attention and control in Radical War stand in contention with Clausewitz's trinity of warfare consisting of state, people and armed forces, particularly through the way in which the smartphone disintermediates combatants and citizens. Finally, we discussed whether the European wars of religion caused by the invention of the printing press prefigure potential future conflicts brought about by the retreat of opposing groups into social media echo-chambers (the audio for this last question can be accessed by subscribing to tier three of the Hypervelocity Patreon).
Radical War is available from: https://www.hurstpublishers.com/book/radical-war/
Dr Matthew Ford is Senior Lecturer in International Relations, University of Sussex; founding editor of the British Journal for Military History; and author of Weapons of Choice. His research interests focus on military innovation, socio-technical change, the epistemology of battle and strategy. Matthew has written extensively about military-technical change, especially as it relates to the infantry and their experience of battle.
Professor Andrew Hoskins is Professor of Global Security, University of Glasgow; and founding editor of the journals Digital War; Memory, Mind & Media; and Memory Studies. His research and teaching furthers interdisciplinary understanding of how and why human society is being transformed by digital tech and media, and the consequences for forgetting, memory, privacy, security, and the nature, experience and effects of contemporary warfare.
Thank you kindly for listening to the Hypervelocity podcast. If you enjoyed it, please consider subscribing below so that the impact of military technology on strategy can be explored further
Are you the creator of this podcast?
and pick the featured episodes for your show.
Connect with listeners
Podcasters use the RadioPublic listener relationship platform to build lasting connections with fansYes, let's begin connecting
Find new listeners
Understand your audience
Engage your fanbase