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233043 SE Technology, Society, and International Security (2018W)

Satellites and the Social Construction of Risk

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 23 - Soziologie
Continuous assessment of course work

Registration/Deregistration

Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).

Details

max. 25 participants
Language: English

Lecturers

Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Wednesday 03.10. 11:30 - 13:30 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien (Kickoff Class)
Wednesday 10.10. 11:30 - 13:30 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Wednesday 17.10. 11:30 - 13:30 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Wednesday 24.10. 11:30 - 13:30 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Wednesday 31.10. 11:30 - 13:30 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Wednesday 07.11. 11:30 - 13:30 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Wednesday 14.11. 11:30 - 13:30 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Wednesday 21.11. 11:30 - 13:30 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Wednesday 28.11. 11:30 - 13:30 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Wednesday 05.12. 11:30 - 13:30 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien
Wednesday 12.12. 11:30 - 13:30 Seminarraum STS, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/6. Stock, 1010 Wien

Information

Aims, contents and method of the course

Today, billions of people around the world rely on space systems for a large variety of aspects of their daily life. Satellites are used to support phones, the Internet, and banking systems. In particular imaging satellite were long considered to be the exclusive purview of intelligence actors and the military; and the advanced technologies, including remote sensing, that they utilized too secret to share with others. With the end of the Cold War and the commercialization of satellite technology a broad range of new actors, including non-governmental organizations, advocacy groups and think-tanks increasingly use satellite imagery to point to human rights violations in countries that are otherwise hard to access like North Korea, Sudan or Syria. Security policy decisions are informed by imagery based analysis and satellites play a crucial role in international peacekeeping. This course will explore the techno-political histories as well as current challenges and actor configurations in the field of satellite technologies with a special focus on security related issues.

Drawing on concepts and theoretical approaches from Science and Technologies Studies (STS) and International Relations, we will address the following questions:
Do satellite have politics? What are the relations between technology, security and transparency? Which risks with regard to privacy does open source satellite imagery pose? How are satellites related to issues of democracy? Which uncertainties do satellite imagery analysts face in generating and circulating security knowledge? What are the social and political implications of innovation in satellite technologies and what could remote sensing based activism look like?

During this class, you will get acquainted with key concepts from the fields of STS and Critical Security Studies as well as Media Studies. You will attain basic knowledge of theoretical concepts and methodological approaches before learning how to operationalize and apply them to empirical cases in the field of satellite technologies. The focus on satellites (and related security technologies) will enable you to creatively interweave concepts from these fields of study which accounts for the interdisciplinary setting of the study program. The course conveys the basic relations between and mutual influences of technology, security, and society, and provides you with the knowledge to understand and explain current developments in this field from an STS perspective.

Assessment and permitted materials

To pass the seminar, students are expected to complete the following tasks:
a) Readings and class participation: This is a reading- and discussion-intensive class.
b) Mid-term assignments: You are asked to submit two 1-page Response Papers during the course of the seminar (500 words max, 1,5 spacing, size 11). The papers should identify major themes and problems posed by the assigned readings and raise questions for fellow participants.
c) Mid-term assignments: You are asked to submit two 1-page Response Papers during the course of the seminar (500 words max, 1,5 spacing, size 11). The papers should identify major themes and problems posed by the assigned readings and raise questions for fellow participants.
d) Oral presentation (10 minutes & 5 minutes Q&A): In this presentation (taking place in one of the last two sessions) you will present your research topic and your research question for the term paper as well as the way your planning to address it.
e) Term paper: In the paper (3,500-4,000 words) you demonstrate that you can apply the concepts from the literature to a current issue related to satellite technologies and international security. You are free to choose a topic from the course that you ´re most interested in but you have to develop your own research question and answer it in the paper.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Grading Scheme

The grading scheme is based on a total of 100 points. These points will be awarded in relation to students’ performance in meeting the course learning aims in the different obligatory tasks.
The maximum number of points to be acquired for each task is:

Participation (including the preparation of the session 'Find your expert' and the 'open session'): 20 Points, assessed individually,
feedback on request;
Response Papers: 15 Points, assessed individually, feedback on request;
Oral Presentation: 25 Points, assessed individually, feedback by lecturer / and group;
Final Paper: 40 Points, assessed individually, feedback by lecturer;

Minimum requirements
A minimum of 50 points is necessary to successfully complete the course. Failure to meet the attendance regulations, to deliver course assignments on time or to adhere to standards of academic work may result in a deduction of points.

Grades
100-87 points Excellent (1)
86-75 points Good (2)
74-63 points Satisfactory (3)
62-50 points Sufficient (4)
49-0 points Unsatisfactory (5) (fail)

Attendance
Presence and participation is compulsory. Absences of four hours at maximum are tolerated, provided that the lecturer is informed about the absence. Absences of up to eight hours in total may be compensated by either a deduction of grading points or/and extra work agreed with the lecturer. Whether compensation is possible is decided by the lecturer.
Absences of more than eight hours in total cannot be compensated. In this case, or if the lecturer does not allow a student to compensate absences of more than four hours, the course cannot be completed and is graded as a ‘fail’ (5), unless there is a major and unpredictable reason for not being able to fulfil the attendance requirements on the student’s side (e.g. a longer illness). In such a case, the student may be de-registered from the course without grading. It is the student’s responsibility to communicate this in a timely manner, and to provide relevant evidence to their claims if necessary. Whether this exception applies is decided by the lecturer.

Important Grading Information
If not explicitly noted otherwise, all requirements mentioned in the grading scheme and the attendance regulations must be met. If a required task is not fulfilled, e.g. a required assignment is not handed in or if the student does not meet the attendance requirements, this will be considered as a discontinuation of the course. In that case, the course will be graded as ‘fail’ (5), unless there is a major and unpredictable reason for not being able to fulfill the task on the student's side (e.g. a longer illness). In such a case, the student may be de-registered from the course without grading. It is the student’s responsibility to communicate this in a timely manner, and to provide relevant evidence to their claims if necessary. Whether this exception applies is decided by the lecturer.
If any requirement of the course has been fulfilled by fraudulent means, be it for example by cheating at an exam, plagiarizing parts of a written assignment or by faking signatures on an attendance sheet, the student's participation in the course will be discontinued, the entire course will be graded as ‘not assessed’ and will be entered into the electronic exam record as ‘fraudulently obtained’. Self-plagiarism, particularly re-using own work handed in for other courses, will be treated likewise.

Examination topics

Reading list


Association in the course directory

Last modified: Tu 30.03.2021 00:22