Defining the elephant: Discourse analysis of the Internet Governance Debate at the World Telecommunication Policy Forum 2009 |

Defining the elephant: Discourse analysis of the Internet Governance Debate at the World Telecommunication Policy Forum 2009

Synopsis:

The internet has become an integral part of the daily lives and work of over one billion people on Earth and that number is still growing. An ubiquitous resource and a versatile tool, the Internet also poses numerous challenges particularly in the policy arena; a debate known under the broad title of Internet Governance (IG). In its current form the IG debate is primarily a discursive exercise focused on negotiation of terms, norms, and values that should be at the basis of the governance of the Internet. Whether this discussion has already impacted concrete policy decisions or it will do so in the future, numerous stakeholders, including governments, the private sector and the civil society, invest substantive resources in this exercise. This study is part of a broader research program that raises two main research questions. First, how is the agenda for global telecom policymaking set through a continuous process of deliberation and consensus seeking among the stakeholders? In other words, it aspires to understand what social structures and pragmatic interests the relevant stakeholders bring into the IG discussion; how those social structures and pragmatic interests influence their perception of the Internet and its governance; and how they are re-negotiated in the process of reaching consensus on Internet-related policy issues. Second, what discursive frames and patterns emerge in the fora where IG is being discussed and how do these frames and patterns portray the Internet and its social, economic, and political roles? This study is a work in progress, which seeks to unpack the process through which frames of reference of Internet and its governance are shaped and negotiated. It draws on data collected during the World Telecommunication Policy Forum (WTPF), which took place in April 2009 in Lisbon, Portugal.

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Speaker(s):

Dmitry Epstein, Research Fellow, Information + Innovation Policy Research Centre

Date:
Thursday, 26 November 2009
Time:
12.15 p.m. - 1.30 p.m.
Venue:

Seminar Room 2-2
Level 2, Manasseh Meyer
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy
469C Bukit Timah Road
Singapore 259772

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