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.


Mikkel Flyverbom

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


1. It should be noted that the ambition is neither to investigate how the Internet, or the digital revolution more broadly, is currently governed at the global level, nor to determine whether the UN activities in this area have been effective or not. Rather, the purpose is to explore how this global, socio-political space has been ordered and organized, and to bring out the effects of these activities for political rationalities, organizational techniques, subjects and objects – and, ultimately, questions about power and authority. Neither does the book claim that all parts of the UN are changing in similar ways. Experiments with multi-stakeholder arrangements seem to occur primarily in the parts of the UN addressing issues like media, culture and development, and remain very much at the margins of the system – far away from the Security Council and ‘high’ politics. In other contexts, Bill Gates has also argued that ICTs should come in when all other problems have been solved. For instance, at a conference he said, ‘come on, these people don’t have medicines, they’re dying, they don’t have electricity. Why are we just sitting here talking about computers?’ ( (accessed 7 March 2011)). Members from governments were not asked to nominate themselves, but were picked by the Secretary-General on the basis of informal consultations, which made a number of governments complain that the process had not been transparent enough. The mailing list was started during the preparations for the Geneva phase of WSIS and had approximately 150 subscribers,...

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