ICANN See Clearly Now: The Political Economy of Internet Governance 公开

Taylor, Kathryn (2017)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/z029p578s?locale=zh
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Abstract

This thesis is a first step towards incorporating evidence from the emerging area of Internet governance into existing political theory about the creation and evolution of international institutions. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the institution in charge of global Internet governance, has existed as a private, nonprofit corporation with multistakeholder participation since 1998, when the U.S. government created it. In 2016, however, the U.S. relinquished its historical control of ICANN, giving way to an international multistakeholder model.

In this qualitative historical case study, I investigate what political factors explain ICANN's design and evolution by analyzing the role of states, corporations, civil society, and path dependence in determining institutional form over time. I argue that state power is an important driver in this case, but that non-state actors such as corporations and technical experts have also achieved great influence in Internet governance through their possession and use of financial and informational resources. Additionally, path dependence explains why, despite shifting power dynamics, ICANN's structure has remained intact in the face of multiple efforts by United Nations bodies and members to replace it with multilateral solutions. My findings highlight the importance of the worldview of epistemic communities in framing policy debates, suggesting that that Internet technical community's desire for an interoperable global network was a key reason for the rise of a seemingly novel multistakeholder institution for Internet governance.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Glossary....................................................................................................................1

Introduction...............................................................................................................2

Why ICANN? .............................................................................................................7

The Politics of Naming.................................................................................................9

Theory, Literature Review, and Hypotheses..................................................................14

States.....................................................................................................................14

Corporations............................................................................................................17

Civil Society.............................................................................................................20

Path Dependence......................................................................................................22

Data and Methods.....................................................................................................24

Interview and Observation..........................................................................................25

Bylaws.....................................................................................................................27

Internet Governance Expert Works...............................................................................27

Official Documents.....................................................................................................28

Data........................................................................................................................28

News Articles............................................................................................................30

Analysis...................................................................................................................32

The Creation of ICANN...............................................................................................32

The World Summit on the Information Society...............................................................42

The Transition...........................................................................................................46

Findings and Concluding Remarks................................................................................50

Theoretical Implications..............................................................................................52

Further Study............................................................................................................53

Comparison to Alternative Systems..............................................................................54

Implications for ICANN................................................................................................55

Appendix A................................................................................................................57

Appendix B................................................................................................................62

Appendix C................................................................................................................64

References................................................................................................................66

List of Figures and Tables

Figures

1. ICANN Organizational Chart.....................................................................................10

2. Percentage of World Internet Users Residing in the US, China, India, Japan, Brazil, Australia,

Russia, and Germany, 2000-2015.................................................................................45

Tables

1. Key Periods and Hypotheses.....................................................................................31


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