The Hybrid Media Environment: Networks, Circulation, Hacking

Arkadiankatu 23 H (courtyard), 2nd floor, Helsinki · 06.03.2020 09:00 - 15:30

The concept of ‘hybridity’ has led to much controversy in recent academic and public debates. Some view it as useful for highlighting emerging security challenges. Others dismiss it as a misleading analytical category, obscuring more than explaining the changing nature of conflict. Terms such as hybrid warfare, hybrid threats and hybrid interference are being used to highlight various disruptive phenomena, including disinformation, trolling, hacking and cyber-attacks, and this debate is itself in many ways connected to the increasing complexity of our media environment. Yet, despite these extensive references to hybridity, the use of the term can also be problematic. This seminar discusses the concept of hybridity, its use and relevance. The event is organized by the Academy of Finland Project Hybrid Terrorizing – HYTE and SAPO – Politics of Conspiracy Theories in co-operation with the Finnish Institute of International Affairs.

Registration to Maija Salonen ( by Wednesday 4.3.


Opening remarks

Johanna Sumiala

Associate Professor, University of Helsinki, HYTE Project

Johanna Sumiala is Associate Professor in Media and Communication at University of Helsinki. Sumiala’s research areas include media and social theory, death, ritual and digital media. In recent years her work has focused on violence and related violent media events in hybrid media environments. Sumiala’s most recent publications include: Hybrid Media Events: The Charlie Hebdo Attacks and Global Circulation of Terrorist Violence (2018, Emerald, co-authored with K. Valaskivi, M. Tikka & J. Huhtamäki), and Media and Ritual. Death, Community and Everyday Life (2013, Routledge). Currently she is finalizing a monograph titled Mediated Death (Polity, 2021).

Hybrid, violent media events in the hybrid media environment

Katja Valaskivi

Associate Professor, University of Helsinki, HYTE Project

Katja Valaskivi is Associate Professor in Religion and the Digital World at the University of Helsinki. Current research interests include hybrid media events, the global circulation of conspiracy theories and climate change denialism as well as extremism in the dark web. She leads the Academy of Finland -funded consortium Hybrid Terrorizing. Developing a New Model for the Study of Global Media Events of Terrorist Violence (HYTE) and Helsingin Sanomat -funded research project Politics of Conspiracy Theories (SAPO). Her recent co-written books include Traces of Fukushima, Global Events, Networked Media and Circulation of Emotion (2019) with Anna Rantasila, Mikihito Tanaka and Risto Kunelius as well as Hybrid Media Events. The Charlie Hebdo Attacks and the Global Circulation of Terrorist Violence (2018) with Johanna Sumiala, Minttu Tikka and Jukka Huhtamäki

Forces of dark participation online

Asta Zelenkauskaite

Associate Professor, Drexel University

Asta Zelenkauskaite is an Associate Professor of Communication at Drexel University. Her research focuses on the ways in which communication occurs through computer network environments. She is interested in the changes in the current media landscape and analyses emergent practices in social media using a multi-method approach. Her most current work includes analysis of the forces of influence in online spaces.

Can hybrid threats be deterred?

James Pamment

Associate Professor, Lund University

James Pamment, PhD, is co-director of the Partnership to Counter Influence Operations at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is also associate professor at Lund University in Sweden, and co-editor-in-chief of the Place Branding and Public Diplomacy journal.

Democratic Deterrence: How to Dissuade Hybrid Interference

Mikael Wigell

Programme Director, FIIA

Mikael Wigell is Programme Director at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs and Adjunct Professor at the University of Tampere. He has held Visiting Fellowships at Oxford University and the Torcuato di Tella University, Buenos Aires, as well as a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Academy of Finland. He earned his PhD from the London School of Economics. He is editor of the book Geo-economics and Power Politics in the 21st Century and currently serves as Chairman of the Finnish International Studies Association.

Mediascape and Hybrid Interference

Mika Aaltola

Director of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs

Mika Aaltola is the Director of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA) and Editor-in-Chief of Ulkopolitiikka – the Finnish Journal of Foreign Affairs. Previously, Dr Aaltola worked as the Programme Director of the Global Security research programme at FIIA (2011-2019). His areas of expertise include US foreign and domestic policies as well as the international system and major-power relations. Aaltola is a professor (part-time) at the Tallinn University since 2012 and holds the rank of docent at the University of Tampere. He acted as visiting professor at the University of Minnesota (2006–2008) and as visiting fellow at Cambridge University in 1997. Aaltola has also been a visiting researcher at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (fall 2013) and at the CERI Sciences Po (fall 2010). He obtained his PhD in social sciences from the University of Tampere in 1999.

Hybrid attacks in a case study of US white nationalism

Patrick Burkart

Professor, Texas A&M University

Patrick Burkart is a Professor of Communication at Texas A&M University, USA. He is author of Why Hackers Win: Power and Disruption in the Network Society (University of California Press, with Tom McCourt), Pirate Politics: The New Information Policy Contests (MIT Press), Music and Cyberliberties (Wesleyan University Press), and Digital Music Wars: Ownership and Control of the Celestial Jukebox (Rowman & Littlefield, with Tom McCourt). He is also Editor in Chief of Popular Communication: The International Journal of Media and Culture.

Hybrid attacks in a case study of US white nationalism

Emily Blout

Doctor, American University

Emily Blout (PhD) is a faculty fellow at the Internet Governance Lab at American University. Her scholarly interests relate to the way media reflects, undermines, reinforces, and changes power in modern societies.

Whistleblowing, Human Rights and National Security in an Age of Democratic Decline

Iain Munro

Professor, Newcastle University

Iain Munro is Professor of Management at Newcastle University Business School. His fields of research includes information warfare, organizational ethics and whistleblowing. He has written a monograph titled Information Warfare in Business. He is currently working on an edited book on “Whistleblowing, Human Rights and the Media”.