Handbook on the Politics of Regulation
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Handbook on the Politics of Regulation

Edited by David Levi-Faur

This unique Handbook offers the most up-to-date and comprehensive, state-of-the-art reviews of the politics of regulation. It presents and discusses the core theories and concepts of regulation in response to the rise of the regulatory state and regulatory capitalism, and in the context of the ‘golden age of regulation’. Its eleven sections include forty-eight chapters covering issues as diverse and varied as: theories of regulation; historical perspectives on regulation; regulation of old and new media; risk regulation, enforcement and compliance; better regulation; civil regulation; European regulatory governance; and global regulation. As a whole, it provides an essential point of reference for all those working on the political, social, and economic aspects of regulation.
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Chapter 19: Internet Regulation

Andrew D. Murray


Andrew D. Murray Cyberspace is both familiar and foreign. It is a place we are all extremely familiar with, a place we visit often on a daily basis, yet it is a place with social conventions very unlike our Realspace world. While we are able to socialise in both environments, often adopting different personas for different online and offline roles or activities, it is more difficult for regulators to design the correct regulatory response to online regulatory challenges or failures. This is because regulation in Realspace reflects the socio-political ordering of the regulatory environment it seeks to exert control over: in Realspace we discuss regulation in terms of the regulatory state or even the post-regulatory state (Levi-Faur, 2011). In Cyberspace there is no state, only nodes (Shearing and Wood 2003): this lack of social cohesion disrupts political organisation and ultimately attempts at external regulation. If we think of primary Realspace regulation in the form of law we find in the modern environment a multi-layered legal system, but one in which primary legislative responsibility rests with the sovereign government of any territory. This creates a commonality between the regulator and the regulatee based on their shared dependency upon and responsibility for a geographically defined community (Galligan 2007, chap. 5). Thus members of the macro-community of UK citizens share responsibility for social and economic ordering within the UK and, more importantly, share the consequences of regulatory failure. For example, a real-world macro-community collectively shares the consequences of anti-social behaviour such as theft...

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