Participation and Policy Positions in Global Internet Governance

Research question/goal: 

Much has been said and written about how the Internet is transforming politics. However, what are the politics of the Internet? The rise of the Internet confronts policy-makers with many contentious questions on matters such as data protection, copyrights and access to information, or net neutrality. This project investigates who participates in the diffuse, global arenas and spaces of internet governance, and seeks to understand variation in attendance and in the policies governments, businesses, civil society, and the “technical community” hope to realize for the internet.

The project assembles systematic and comprehensive data on the characteristics of the public and private actors participating in arenas such as the Internet Governance Forum and networks such as the Internet Engineering Task Force. The aim is to identify and study the sources of variation in participation between governments, businesses and civil society organizations, or the technical community. Furthermore, relying on automated text analysis, we use the speeches of Internet policy-makers to examine which topics they address and which positions they adopt on these topics. On this basis, this project provides a systematic map of the political space of global Internet governance.

Current stage: 

Two pilot studies explored the feasibility of the project. First, we collected data on participation in key internet governance arenas (Winzen & Weyrauch 2018). Second, we used speeches of political actors in the Internet Governance Forum to identify their preferences (Weyrauch & Winzen 2018). We presented first results at two conferences. David Weyrauch, who initially worked as a Research Assistant in this project (financed by the MZES), has been accepted into the CDSS doctoral programme. In case of a successful grant application, he should become part of the project team. A draft version of the grant application now also exists.

Fact sheet

Funding: 
MZES
Duration: 
2017 to 2021
Status: 
in preparation
Data Sources: 
Documents (debate transcripts, meeting attendance records etc.)
Geographic Space: 
Global

Publications