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Name: David Young

PhD: Critical Theory and Cultural Studies

Thesis Title: Network Experiments and the Administration of Control in the US Military, from the Cold War to the War on Terror


Thesis Description:

My PhD research involves analysing the internal documentation of instances of technological experimentation in conflict scenarios, looking at specific military operations during the Cold War.

The 'grey media' (manuals, flowcharts, databases, and other institutional artefacts) that describe these experiments is of primary consideration, providing an internal perspective on case studies where there was a key shift in the relationship between the US Military's technologies, its personnel, and their resultant experiences of conflict. In doing so, I will explore how such technologies impact on the subjective capacities of soldiers as "users", shaping the contours and limitations of what counts, experientially, as "war".

My research situates issues around computational decision-making, automation and accountability in contemporary warfare in the context of Cold War technological advancement. Of prime concern is how concepts of the individual, the interface, and the institution impact on notions of agency and autonomy in war. My methodology, comprised of analytical reading and annotating of grey media collected from archival research, seeks opportunities for creative intervention and presentation of these materials.


Supervisors and Institution(s):

Dr Andrew Goffey - University of Nottingham

Prof Scott Lucas - University of Birmingham


Publications (please include full details with page nos. or web links):

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Scholarly / Public Engagement Activities:


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See website:


Other Research Interests:

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  • Representations of the computer in Cold War cinema.
  • Silicon Valley and trends in 'App Culture'.
  • Labour politics of the quantified self movement.
  • Critiques of digital culture in contemporary art.



University email address: