New paper: The Emergence of Contention in Global Internet Governance, July 21, 2015



This paper is part of the Global Commission on Internet Governance Paper Series.

The Emergence of Contention in Global Internet Governance by: Samantha Bradshaw, Laura DeNardis, Fen Osler Hampson, Eric Jardine, and Mark Raymond.

Internet governance has rapidly shifted from a technocratic area of governance to one characterized by considerable contention. This shift is unprecedented among the large and increasing number of technocratic regimes essential to contemporary global governance, and is of broader interest and significance beyond Internet governance scholars and practitioners.

This paper draws on international relations theory to argue that the emergence of contention in Internet governance entails a twofold shift in the nature of the problems posed by Internet governance: first, cooperation problems have emerged where few previously existed; and second, existing coordination problems have become increasingly difficult to manage as a result of a rapidly increasing number of players and heightened distributional consequences. This paper provides four complementary explanations for the shift in the underlying problem structure: extrinsic uncertainty, changing market conditions, declining US dominance in the Internet governance system and social processes of institutional change and regime complex formation.

About the Authors

CIGI Research Associate Samantha Bradshaw focuses on a wide variety of Internet governance issues, including intellectual property rights, cyber security and data governance.
A scholar of Internet architecture and governance, Laura DeNardis joined CIGI as a senior fellow in 2013.
Fen Osler Hampson joined CIGI as distinguished fellow and director of the global security & politics program in July 2012, and oversees the research direction of the program.

The Global Commission on Internet Governance was established in January 2014 to articulate and advance a strategic vision for the future of Internet governance. The two-year project conducts and supports independent research on Internet-related dimensions of global public policy, culminating in an official commission report that will articulate concrete policy recommendations for the future of Internet governance.