eventAnna Engelhardt & Emily RosamondIn Conversation: Reputation Volatility, the political economy of cyberwar05.11.2021


In the five years since Russia interfered in the US elections, cyberwar has continued to permeate digital platforms. Unfolding on social media, this mode of combat is governed by private companies rather than sovereign nations. The Facebook Papers, by revealing how the platform is wired for misinformation, illustrate how it operates as a digital battleground where conflict generates revenue. Therefore, to engage with the logic of cyberwar, we must examine the market rules the platforms obey.

In her work, Emily Rosamond provides a unique perspective on the political economy of cyberwar. She proposes that there has been a broader shift, from the paradigm of 'reputation capital', in which users gradually accumulate reputation, to the one of 'reputation volatility', where both loss and gain are equally likely outcomes. According to Rosamond, 'reputation volatility' brings forward the new type of 'reputation warfare,' in which strategic actors capitalise on the volatility of online reputations.

In the interview, Anna Engelhardt invites Rosamond to elaborate on the key economic principles of reputation warfare. In particular, Engelhardt will connect Rosamond’s thinking with the understanding of cyberwar as an economic enterprise, as analysed by Svitlana Matvyienko and Nick Dyer-Witherford in their 2019 book Cyberwar and Revolution.

This interview is a part of the public programme for The Green Room, a two-person exhibition with artworks by Anna Engelhardt and Bahar Noorizadeh curated by Reem Shadid running until 11 November.