Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (BIGSSS); SOCIUM Forschungszentrum Ungleichheit und Sozialpolitik, Universität Bremen; Sonderforschungsbereich 1342 "Globale Entwicklungsdynamiken von Sozialpolitik", Universität Bremen
The more the Internet innervates contemporary societies, the more Internet Governance emerges as an important and controversial global policy domain. Notwithstanding the crucial relevance of the issues at stake within this domain, and the long-standing and multifaceted debate around them, there is still a total lack of consensus about how to define Internet Governance, and an ample margin of ambiguity regarding both the concept of governance and the technical "boundaries" of the Internet.
These definitional uncertainties and conceptual ambiguities are not due to the inability of scholars and policy-makers in grasping the essential contours of an emerging policy field, nor to the fast pace of technological innovations. Rather, they depend on the highly controversial nature of political dynamics and institutions involved into this relatively new power arena. Since the early 1990s, in fact, different actors have been producing different definitions, conceptualisations and narratives of Internet Governance, in order to mark off specific sets of legitimated issues, actors and fora. In other words, definitions and discourses have been strategically used as regulative resources by actors struggling for the governance of the Internet.
The lecture will address definitional struggles and discursive interactions in the global Internet governance from a constructivist perspective. Particularly, drawing upon Maarten Hajer's discourse coalition framework, the main controversies around Internet governance issues will be scrutinised as they unfolded through time. Further, some mapping exercises of discourse coalitions in specific fora will be presented, and the hypothesis about an ongoing decline of the "multistakeholderist" discursive order will be discussed.