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Networks and States: the Global Politics of Internet Governance

Date & Time:
13:00 - 14:30,
Monday 18 October, 2010


Milton Mueller will discuss his new book, ‘Networks and States: The Global Politics of Internet Governance’ (MIT Press), a comprehensive analysis of the often-conflicting relationship between the global internet and government by territorial nation-states.

In opposition to those who argue that nation-states are subordinating the Internet to traditional forms of regulation, ‘Networks and States’ shows how the Internet is pioneering new forms of governmentality. It draws upon recent theories of networked governance and peer production and shows how they can be, and are being, applied to the Internet, often as substitutes for more traditional forms of law and regulation.

Whereas Mueller’s previous book, ‘Ruling the Root’, covered the origins of ICANN, ‘Networks and States’ covers the whole gamut of global Internet governance issues and policies: Internet domain names and IP addresses, copyright and trademark protection, cyber-security, and content regulation. The book also charts the historical evolution of global internet governance institutions, including the formation of a transnational policy network around the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and the UN Internet Governance Forum (IGF). The book constructs a normative argument for forms of internet governance that favor the transnational over the national; for networks over states.


Professor Milton Mueller

School of Information Studies, Syracuse University

Milton Mueller’s work investigates the political economy of communication and information. He uses the theoretical tools of property rights analysis, institutional economics and both historical and quantitative social science methods. He has a longstanding interest in the history of communication technologies and global governance institutions: his most recent research projects explore the efforts of citizens and activists to shape communication and information policy, both globally and nationally. His acclaimed book ‘Ruling the Root: Internet Governance and the Taming of Cyberspace’ (MIT Press, 2002) was the first scholarly account of the Internet governance debates.

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