Call For Papers: Third GigaNet Annual Symposium
2 December, 2008
Hyderabad International Conference Center (HICC)
Hyderabad, India
Call For Papers [pdf] [html]

The Global Internet Governance Academic Network (GigaNet) is a scholarly community that promotes the development of Internet governance as a recognized, interdisciplinary field of study and facilitates informed dialogue on policy issues and related matters between scholars and governments, international organizations, the private sector, and civil society.

Each year, GigaNet organizes a one-day research symposium in conjunction with the United Nations Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and in the same premises. After the first two editions in Athens, Greece (October 2006) and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (November 2007), the third GigaNet Annual Symposium will be held on December 2, 2008, in Hyderabad, India, the day before the 3rd IGF meeting. Attendance at the Symposium will be open to all and free of charge. The Symposium will be at the same location as the IGF and registration with the UN as an IGF participant may be necessary to gain entry to the building.

This is a call for papers from scholars interested in presenting an original research paper at the conference.

Important dates:

  • 15 July 2008: abstract submission deadline (to be sent to:
  • 15 September 2008: notification to applicants
  • 10 October 2008: full papers due
  • 15 October 2008: 2008 GigaNet symposium program finalized
  • 2 December 2008: 2008 GigaNet symposium, HICC, Hyderabad, India

Submission topics:

In addition to papers on methodological aspects of Internet governance-related studies, this year's Symposium particularly encourages submissions on the following themes, which are described in more detail below:

1. Comparing Internet Governance to other Global Governance Domains
2. Networked Governance Theories and the Institutionalization of Internet Governance
3. The Role of NGOs, Social Movements and Civil Society in Internet Governance
4. Year 3 of the UN Internet Governance Forum: Assessing its Structure, Process and Impact
5. Law and Jurisdictions in Internet Governance
6. Copyright Protection, Internet Service Providers and Technical Mechanisms of Control
7. Internationalized Domain Names: Expanding Access or Tower of Babel?

Submission requirements:

Applicants should submit: 1) an abstract of 800-1000 words, in English, of the proposed paper that describes the main research question(s), methods employed, and the paper's relevance and value to the thematic area; and 2) a one page summary curriculum vitae listing in particular the applicant's current institutional affiliation(s), advanced degrees, scholarly publications relevant to Internet governance, and web sites, if available.

Submission materials should be emailed directly to the chairperson of the 2008 Program Committee, Dr. Meryem Marzouki, at Meryem.Marzouki[at] by no later than July 15, 2008, midnight GMT.

Members of the 2008 program committee will review submissions according to the same criteria. In order to ensure fairness of the evaluation process, submissions that do not conform to the requested format will not be considered.

The Program Committee will notify applicants of its decisions via email by September 15, 2008.

A full paper upon which oral or poster presentation will be based must be delivered to the same address by October 10, 2008, midnight GMT in order for the author(s) to be included in the program.

While GigaNet asserts no copyright to authors' work, it is expected that the version of the paper presented orally or as poster will be made available for posting on the GigaNet website.

Travel scholarships for a few outstanding accepted papers may be available for scholars who would otherwise be unable to attend. Applicants who are accepted will be informed of these opportunities after September 15.

2008 GigaNet Symposium Program Committee:

  • Ana Abreu, Labeurb/Unicamp and Paulista University, Campinas (SP), Brazil
  • Slavka Antonova, Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Meryem Marzouki, LIP6/PolyTIC-CNRS Laboratory, Paris, France (Chair)
  • John Mathiason, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, Syracuse (NY), USA
  • Milton Mueller, Syracuse University School of Information Studies, Syracuse (NY), USA
  • Max Senges, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
  • Rolf H. Weber, University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland

Topics Description:

1. Comparing Internet Governance to other Global Governance Domains
The concept of global governance has flourished in a number of fields: trade, security, environment, development — as well as Internet. However, most general analyses of global governance ignore global Internet governance. Conversely, very few Internet governance analyses are conducted through comparative frameworks. Submissions are invited to help frame Internet governance in a broader, global governance perspective. What could be learnt from experiences of global governance in other fields? Are there any general instruments and methods of global governance, irrespective of the domain area it addresses? Could some similarities or invariants of a global governance process be identified?

2. Networked Governance Theories and the Institutionalization of Internet Governance
The global policy discourse on Internet governance involves more diverse actors and newly created institutions. There is a need to explore the dynamics of this changing institutionalization process through theoretical and empirical analysis. Recent work explores network forms of organization in political and governance contexts, at national and international levels, most notably with the concept of “transgovernmental networks” to solve sector-specific problems. We call for papers that apply, test and criticize ideas of “networked governance” in the context of global Internet governance. We encourage submissions that analyze collaborative policy-making in related institutions and interactions between them. We are especially interested in papers that critically analyze these forms of governance in terms of fairness and accountability and their relationship to democratic principles. Can presently excluded or minority communities enhance their participation? Beyond the expert discourse and the interplay amongst dedicated stakeholders, can networked governance represent people, rather than just established interests and agencies? What are the available tools and practices to facilitate their participation and deliberation, in terms of discourse, collaboration and decision-making?

3. Role of NGOs, Social Movements and Civil Society in Internet Governance
Important but subtle transformations have occurred in the role and participation of non-governmental and non-business actors in the 6 years since the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS). WSIS witnessed a somewhat usual situation, where organized social actors participated from inside the process through structured non-governmental organizations, and social movements exercised some more radical pressure from the outside. Since the creation of the UN Internet Governance Forum (IGF), this mode of participation has turned into a “consensus-based cooperation”, where civil society actors are supposed to contribute on equal footing with governments and business actors, in most cases in their individual capacity and rather disconnected from social movements. We seek papers that analyze the evolution of involved social actors and their structuring, especially with regards to the historical evolution of the concept of civil society, and to explore in which ways and to what extent these transformations may be related to the move from government to governance.

4. Year 3 of the UN Internet Governance Forum: Assessing its Structure, Process and Impact
The WSIS created and mandated the IGF to address critical, value-adding global Internet governance functions that cannot be entirely performed by any existing institution. This includes: highlighting emerging issues, assessing the embodiment of WSIS principles, and strengthening the participation of stakeholders in Internet governance mechanisms. Furthermore, the IGF was defined as “multilateral, multi-stakeholder, democratic and transparent” body; it has been structured through a Secretariat, a multi-stakeholder advisory group (MAG), and a special advisory group to the MAG's chair; and for 3 years, it has been operating as an open discursive space, prepared through open consultation sessions. Submissions are invited to explore whether the IGF has fulfilled its mandate at this step, which difficulties can be identified and how they could be solved. Has the IGF structure, management and advisory mechanisms proven to be adequate and compliant with the WSIS Tunis Agenda requirements? What strengths could be reinforced and weaknesses overcome?

5. Law and Jurisdictions in Internet Governance
The Internet must now be considered a major factor when elaborating regulatory principles to deal with the circulation of content and data and with the protection of the general communications infrastructure. This is not an easy task because of its implications on the respect for universal human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, where States differ widely on their implementation of these international standards, even among coherent regional entities. The task becomes even more complex due to conflicts of competences among overlapping jurisdictions. We seek papers that identify and explore conflicts among national laws and attempts to harmonize them. We also seek papers that explore the relevance to the global Internet of public and private international law currently in force or being considered in ongoing international negotiations. Submissions analyzing the role and positions of various players in these processes are also encouraged.

6. Copyright Protection, Internet Service Providers and Technical Mechanisms of Control
We encourage papers that examine attempts to impose copyright protection on the Internet through the intermediary of Internet service providers. This theme bridges the topics of network neutrality and intellectual property, inspired by recent incidents, such as a Belgian ISP's order by a court to use deep packet inspection to catch copyright infringement in transit, and Comcast's notorious interference with BitTorrent, which also was probably stimulated in part by copyright protection concerns. Papers can explore the feasibility and “state of the art” of packet inspection and other relevant techniques, analyze copyright industry and ISP industry interactions from a political economy standpoint, or examine appropriate policy responses to new and powerful packet inspection techniques.

7. Internationalized Domain Names: Expanding Access or Tower of Babel?
We encourage papers on the economic, cultural and compatibility issues raised by the migration to a new standard for Internet domain names that allows them to reflect non-Roman scripts such as Chinese or Cyrillic. Internationalized domain names (IDNs) have a double-edged effect: they widen access for non-English or ASCII readers by making domain names easier to use, but they also introduce compatibility problems among people communicating across language boundaries, as one party may not know how to read or input the address of the other party. There are also interesting questions of competition policy, as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) must decide whether to give new generic top level domains (TLDs) in IDN scripts to incumbents operating ASCII TLDs with similar meanings, or to new competitors. Issues of consumer confusion and cross-linguistic disputes can also arise.