Edited by Christoph Beat Graber and Mira Burri-Nenova
Chapter 6: Governance of Virtual Worlds and the Quest for a Digital Constitution
Vaios Karavas* 1. DEALING WITH UNCERTAINTY: THE POTENTIAL OF CREATIVE EXPERIMENTALISM The title of the present text is, indeed, characterised by its high indeterminacy as it contains terms of an as yet unfixed and fluid semantic content. First the term ‘governance’: although there is much talk today about the so-called shift from ‘government to governance’,1 it is nevertheless far from clear what the term ‘governance’ actually means.2 The same holds true for the notion of: ‘virtual worlds’.3 We know little about these new digital phenomena and the processes that take place in them. Are they mere commercial games, new separate worlds, ‘virtual communities’,4 ‘magic circles’5 or even ‘distinct jurisdictions’,6 as some lawyers argue? How could one then possibly meet the challenges of developing * For their helpful comments, I would like to thank all the participants at the workshop ‘Governance of Online Worlds and Cultural Diversity’, University of Lucerne, 12 September 2008. 1 See James N. Rosenau and Ernst-Otto Czempiel (eds.), Governance without Government: Order and Change in World Government, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992. 2 For a clarification of the term ‘governance’ from the viewpoint of various disciplines, see recently the contributions in Gunnar Falke Schuppert and Michael Zürn (eds.), Governance in einer sich wandelnden Welt, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 2008. 3 The term ‘virtual worlds’ stands here for the so-called online digital games. For an introduction to the various issues concerning virtual worlds, see the contributions to this volume. See further Jack M....
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