The Power of Networks

The Power of Networks

Organizing the Global Politics of the Internet

Mikkel Flyverbom

With an ever-growing number of users, the Internet is central to the processes of globalization, cultural formations, social encounters and economic development. These aside, it is also fast becoming an important political domain. Struggles over disclosure, access and regulation are only the most visible signs that the Internet is quickly becoming a site of fierce political conflict involving states, technical groups, business and civil society. As the debate over the global politics of the Internet intensifies, this book will be a valuable guide for anyone seeking to understand the emergence, organization and shape of this new issue.

Chapter 1: Governance and Organization as Ordering

Mikkel Flyverbom

Subjects: business and management, organisational innovation, organisation studies, innovation and technology, organisational innovation, technology and ict, politics and public policy, international politics


Setting out from the three analytical principles outlined in the introduction, this chapter articulates how politics, governance and organization may be understood as processes of ordering. Discussing alternative analytical vocabularies, such as governance, management and control, the chapter seeks to advance the value of ordering as a starting point for practice-oriented, relational and agnostic investigations of politics and organization, provides some analytical concepts to guide such studies, and reflects on ordering processes as central to power and authority. WHY ORDERING? As a starting point, we may think of ordering as ways of acting on the world, that is, ‘all practices concerned with the control and management of things’ (Kendall and Wickham 2001: 28). The concern with ordering can be identified in and across a wide range of disciplines. Such studies take the shape of situated, sociological accounts of the ordering of social life (Clarke 2005), the concern with ‘organization as process’ (Czarniawska 2008; Hernes 2008) and the ‘organization of organizations’ (Ahrne, Brunsson et al. 2007) in organization studies, and the making and governance of international spaces, such as in recent work on ‘global governmentality’ (Larner and Walters, 2004) and networked forms of governance (Barry 2001; Kendall, 2004). The two most important sources of inspiration, however, are the Foucauldian literature on power, governmentality and subjectification (Foucault 1973; Miller and Rose 1990; Rose 1999; Fleming and Spicer 2007) and research based on insights from actornetwork theory (ANT) and science and technology studies (STS) (Callon 1986; Callon, Lascoumes et al. 2009; Law 1994;...

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