Matthias Schulze

Percepticon? Purpose of this blog

This is a blog about technology and politics. To be more precise, its about the interplay of digital technologies, the Internet, cyberspace and security policy. I am interested in the ongoing securitization and militarization of the digital world. These fancy terms come from social science and describe how digital technologies are more and more perceived and utilized as matters of national security. This trend leads to phenomena such as increasing Internet surveillance and the use of digital technologies for state conflict (what people call cyber war, although I prefere the more nuanced term cyber conflict). Naturally, cyber security is also an interest of mine. I intentionally did not say information security or computer security, since these are terms used by computer science and IT-professionals. I am neither of those. My background is in political science, international relations, security studies and science and technology studies. This shapes my perspective on the topic.

Copyright Jana Neumann

I believe in democracy, the rule of law the importance of checks & balances. However, every democracy requires critical observation by its citizens, open public discourse that guarantee that it stays a democracy.  I understay my role as an observer and a critic. This leads me to the title of my blog because you might ask, what the heck is a perception? Some kind of transformer? No. It is the combination of the following words:

perception – noun: The ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses

Panopticon – noun, historical: A circular prison with cells arranged arround a central well, from which prisoners could at all times be observed. Origin mid 18th century from: pan – [all] + Greek optikon – [optic]

The panopticon is a metaphor for a surveillance technology, a circular prison that allows observation from the inmates during all times of days. It was designed by Jeremy Bentham and picked up by French philosopher Michel Foucault. Foucault describes pantopticism as political paradigm or ideology of power projection. Being under constant surveillance leads the inmates to self-censor their behavior because they assume that they are being monitored, even they are not. The target of surveillance disciplines itself under these conditions, without the need for a watcher.

Dr. Matthias Schulze

I’am a political scientist and researcher in cyber-security policy at SWP, the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin. Before that, I was a researcher (political science/international relations, surveillance studies, science and technology studies) at the Friedrich-Schiller-University in Jena, Germany and decided to accompany my research process by starting a blog. My dissertation was about the normative change in International Relations regarding the medium Internet. More precisely, I showed how governments adopted a total control approach, enforcing control and surveillance and thereby altering the structure of the medium itself.


  • government hacking, cyber war (better be called cyber conflict), cyber security, surveillance technology, encryption
  • internet governance, cyber norms, hacker & nerd culture, all things digital
  • international relations, security studies, science and technology studies, surveillance studies, social constructivism and discourse theory
  • Methods of IR (qualitative methods, social network analysis), philosophy of science and digital humanities


  • August 2017: Ph.D. defense, Magna cum laude. Title: From cyber-utopia to cyber-war. normative change in cyberspace.
  • April 2017: Researcher at German Institute for International and Security Affairs
  • July – October 2015: Research visit at Citizen Lab, University of Toronto
  • September 2012: Research Assistant at the Department of International Relations, Jena University
  • July 2012: Master thesis award of the Institute of Political Science Jena friends association
  • November 2011: MagisterDegree in Political Science, Sociology and Philosophy. Master thesis about “The language of insecurity. The construction of threats in the German political discourse about data-retention and electronic surveillance”
  • July – September 2009: Intern at Frankfurt Peace Research Institute, research on recent developments in Swedish foreign policy
  • August 2008 – June 2009: Erasmus exchange program, stay at Högskolan Dalarna, Sweden
  • October 2005 – November 2011: Magister Program in Political Science, Philosophy and Sociology at Friedrich-Schiller University, Jena


Link to research

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