Deconstructing an Experiment in Global Internet Governance: The ICANN Case

Abstract: This paper examines what was lost during the four years of experimenting with “multistakeholderism” in ICANN and what the stakes of the parties that influenced the policymaking process the most were. Building on Governmentality Studies’ understanding of the neo-liberal project of self-governance and Organization Studies’ collaboration theory, the document and discourse analysis of ICANN’s practices deconstructs the original model of a collaborative policymaking process conducted by a private multistakeholder corporation and formulates the expectations, stakes and strategies of the participating parties. Thus, it is suggested in the paper that, because the Internet technical elite was granted the managerial role in ICANN, the experts were able to influence the agenda of the policymaking process and its pace, and ultimately to take over the policy-proposal accumulation task and eliminate the working groups, which were open to all participants.It is concluded in the paper that, with the globalization of Internet, a cluster of new players entered the field, such as the developing countries governments, and, in the UN WSIS setting, the concerns of “protecting the public interest” reconnected with the familiar international arrangements.To download this paper [PDF] by Slavka Antonova from the International Journal of Communications Law & Policy, go to: