Multilateral Approaches to Deliberating Internet Governance

J P. Singh, Georgetown University


This essay tackles the question of how increased interactions among multiple actors facilitated by the Internet shape patterns of global governance, especially for the Internet itself. The paper argues that in global governance the types of actors, along with their collective understandings and deliberations, shape two different types of multilateral global orders: statist multilateralism and networked multilateralism. This paper employs the language of global governance rather than that of international regimes to distinguish three keys terms for understanding governance: global order, legitimacy and deliberations. These concepts are applied to the case of Internet governance, to the Internet Corporation on Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) which is characterized as statist multilateralism, the networked scenarios of the World Summit for the Information Society (WSIS), and the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). The conclusion does not predict the demise of statist multilateralism (as do many analysts examining WSIS and IGF processes) but argues that these newer arrangements are analytically useful for understanding alternative governance arrangements likely to emerge in the future. As such, the concept of networked multilateralism could usefully be applied to cases other than the Internet.

Recommended Citation

Singh, J P. (2009) "Multilateral Approaches to Deliberating Internet Governance," Policy & Internet: Vol. 1: Iss. 1, Article 4.
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