The Fair of Competing Narratives: Civil Society(ies) after NETmundial

//This article is part of a series of posts by Stefania Milan, who is attended the NETmundial Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance on behalf of CGCS’s Internet Policy Observatory project

In many ways NETmundial provided a forum for a series of competing and intersecting narratives about the internet. Civil society played an active and constructive role in pushing forward a vision of the internet strongly supported by the human rights based framework. There is, however, no such a thing as “a” civil society, but rather a large group of actors with a number of competing views and values. This internal variety should be taken into account in the creation of the new NETmundial Initiative (or GlobalNet, as it might be called) currently being developed under the auspices of the Swiss based World Economic Forum.

In his 2011 article for Foreign Policy Analysis, Daniel McCarthy argued that internet governance (IG) is a “politically contested process of meaning making.” In his view, we ought to look at the narratives, or the “cultural and symbolic understandings surrounding the internet,” if we are to understand…

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