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Governance without Governments?  The Case of the Internet

Dr Raymund Werle
Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
Email: Werle@mpi-fg-koeln.mpg.de| 

Date: 28 October 2003
: 1:00pm - 2:30pm
: CARR Seminar Room, H615


The Internet evolved in a niche in which it was promoted and only loosely controlled by the (US) government. It has developed into a global network that challenges the traditional nation-based governance institutions. But the popular notion that governments have lost control over the network is misleading. We observe the evolution of new procedures and institutions of control in which governments play different roles but are rarely completely absent. Based on a typological distinction concerning the scope and nature of control (coordination and regulation) the role of governments is analysed. With the central focus on basic operational and infrastructural functions it is argued that the un-centralised Internet is governed by a patchwork of organisations and institutions in which hierarchical, network and market modes of control appear to be balanced. This balance can be disturbed by too much as well as too little government intervention.