Global Internet Governance - Actors, Regulations, Transactions and Strategies

2017 Theme Rationale and Main Topics

“Digital diplomacy” has recently been the subject of significant debates, events and activities at a variety of governance sites. The concept is often used without having been clearly defined and delimited. For some, it is restricted to the use of digital means, especially social networks, by diplomats to practice a kind of “Public Diplomacy 2.0”. In others’ views, it extends to foreign affairs and international relations with regard to all matters related to the digital environment, including internet governance.
There is undoubtedly a need to better understand recent transformations of diplomacy in the digital era, their drivers and their nature, whether and how they might change European and transnational power relations and, ultimately, which values they carry and channel on the global scene.
Moreover, in the global internet governance field specifically, where the technical, social and market innovations are quickly developing, there is a particular difficulty to keep pace with numerous internet innovations in order to make informed choices and decisions on issues that may appear mainly technical. Most significantly, still unresolved, highly sensitive issues challenge national, regional and global policymaking, in terms of sovereignty and other political, legal, economic, social, cultural and societal choices.
Finally, this important issue must be put in the context of the history of institutions building regarding the internet. The United Nations decision, ten years ago at the World Summit on Information Society, that internet governance processes should be institutionalized in an open and inclusive manner through multistakeholder participation, constituted in this regard an important mutation in diplomatic practices.
This first edition of the European Multidisciplinary Conference on Global Internet Governance Actors, Regulations, Transactions and Strategies (GIG-ARTS 2017) is therefore dedicated to the formalization, understanding and discussion of global internet governance, in all its dimensions, as a diplomacy issue and terrain. A special emphasis will be given to the role of the European Union, its member states and its neighbourhood in a field historically dominated by US interests, especially those of private sector internet giants.

Scholars from different backgrounds and disciplines are encouraged to contribute through their theoretical and empirical research works to this definition and to analysis of global internet governance as a diplomacy issue. In addition to general global internet governance issues, topics of particular interest include:

  • Europe as a global actor in internet governance diplomacy: A symphony or cacophony of voices? Europe’s role and position in both the negotiation of internet related Treaties and discussion of soft law instruments; Economy, trade, taxation and labour: the European model challenged by US internet giants and the so-called sharing economy? Europe and its neighbourhood: challenges and opportunities in internet governance diplomacy;
  • Human rights, rule of law and democratic values anchoring and channelling: drivers and obstacles in a digital era; National, regional and global norms diffusion; The role of major European Court rulings on internet related norms; The role of international organizations in hard and soft law instruments design and implementation;
  • New diplomacy actors, instruments and practices in internet governance: Non state actors; Multistakeholder processes: coalitions, transactions and strategies; New forms of lobbying and new power relations?
  • Multiple digital disruptions faced by diplomacy and their consequences: Intercultural relations in internet governance diplomacy and their institutional and regulatory impact; New forms of coordination, institutions building and rule making; New forms of threats and opportunities for sovereignty, peace and security;
  • Diplomacy transformations in a digital era: Nature and perimeter; Commonalities and specificities across different fields; Assessment of diplomatic studies and trainings with regard to such transformations.