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 5: Shaping the Global Politics of the Digital Revolution

Mikkel Flyverbom

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


Having defined the scope of their projects, enrolled the necessary allies and developed ways of interacting, the two multi-stakeholder arrangements were now ready to act and mobilize on a larger scale. With techniques, rationalities and organizational arrangements in place, attention could now be shifted to the substantive aspects of the global politics of the Internet. In this phase, they not only mobilized more social worlds and refined their ways of working, but also fleshed out and ordered their matters of concern – ICT-for-development and Internet governance – in new ways. As we will see, non-human actors, such as technological features of the Internet and imaginaires about the potential of ICTs, entered these discussions again and again – and made a difference to the shape of the global politics of the Internet. Chapter 2 launched the discussion about the making of governable objects and Chapter 3 showed how hybrid forums enrol valuable allies. But we have yet to see how hybrid forums can mobilize much larger groups of allies and chains of associations (Callon 1986: 215) and facilitate collaborations without consensus that reconfigure more extensive projects. This chapter digs deeper into the shaping of the politics of the Internet as a transnational policy issue and explores how technological, regulatory and political imaginaires interweave in the mobilizing phase of the project. MOBILIZATION AND THE ORDERING OF OBJECTS By problematizing the global politics of the Internet in particular ways, and by attracting and enrolling the allies needed for this project to be successful, the two forums...

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