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ERIC Number: ED549783
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 260
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2672-9892-8
The Duality of Information Policy Debates: The Case of the Internet Governance Forum
Epstein, Dmitry
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Cornell University
This project focuses on the dynamics of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) as a non-binding multistakeholder debate about information policymaking. Using the theory of structuration and critical discourse analysis, I explore how the nation-state-centric and the internet-community-centric perceptions of authority and approaches to decision-making manifest themselves in the forum and what political and cultural norms they reify. This study is based on participatory observations, personal interviews, and analysis of documents and meeting transcripts. It explains the inner workings of the IGF as a space where the historical tensions between the traditional methods of global policymaking and the unorthodox approach to governance developed by the Internet community are played out. It explains how the IGF functions as a UN forum that aspires to bring practices of collaborative, meritocratic, and bottom-up decision-making into the nation-state-focused, hierarchical environment of the UN system. My analysis demonstrates how the two worldviews on Internet policymaking coexist and collide within the formalized bodies of the IGF, and how they are enacted through practices that evolved around the IGF fixtures. It explains how the IGF manages to draw legitimacy from both the intergovernmental and the Internet community environments by incorporating elements of both during its meetings. It also explains the pivotal role of idea entrepreneurs at the nucleus of IGF as a group that deliberately engages in creation of IGF structures. This study puts forward three main concluding arguments. First, it argues that the main contribution of the IGF to Internet governance is mainstreaming the Internet community values within the UN system. The IGF engages in governance to the degree that it produces systems of consultative and decision-making processes that have constitutive effects for Internet policymaking. Second, it questions the notion of multistakeholderism by viewing it as a set of practices that enact ideological principles. It highlights the importance of recognizing the multiplicity of practices of multistakeholderism in the analysis of Internet governance. Finally, this study argues for the importance of viewing Internet governance as a system where analysis of one policy discourse space cannot be complete without the understanding of other spaces where Internet governance is debated. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A