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Smartphone resilience: ICT in Ukrainian civic response to the Russian full scale invasion

Wednesday, February 21, 2024, 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Abstract /
In modern warfare digitalization has blurred the line where civilian ends   and military begins. Embedded in the participative warfare theoretical paradigm, this paper looks into how the information and communication technologies (ICT) enable civic resilience under the conditions of the foreign armed aggression. Specifically, we explore how smartphones and smartphone applications empowered the Ukrainian civil society in the aftermath of the Russian full scale invasion of 2022. Based on an online survey and semi-structured interviews, the paper highlights how the device and its features not only allowed civilians to adapt to living in conditions of a constant threat, but also to respond and support the defence from the rear. We conclude that while the smartphone becomes an “online resilience hub” and a nod in the horizontal societal resilience network, acquiring many new functions like a mobile office, an online volunteer (frontline logistics and procurement) hub, an air threat warner, a first-hand news source, etc, its security provision functions are not unconditional and may turn to the opposite, depending on the physical circumstances on the ground as well as virtual information battlefield.


Bio /
Kateryna Zarembo is a political scientist and policy analyst based in Kyiv, Ukraine. She is a non-resident fellow at the Central European University and Technical University of Darmstadt as well as an associate fellow at New Europe Center (Kyiv, Ukraine).