Call for Papers: Symposium Issue of _INFO_
GLOBAL DEMOCRACY AND THE ICANN ELECTIONS
The Internet has provided us with a first experiment in global democracy.
In the year 2000 there took place the first on-line worldwide election for
the governing board of a global institution: the Internet Corporation for
Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). ICANN, whose policy decisions for the
Internet's core technical resources affect users around the world, held an
open election for five of its nineteen governing directors. The election
was hotly contested and featured candidates with sharply divergent
platforms; overall some 170,000 Internet users from around the world
This historical event touches on larger issues of globalization and
democracy. Accompanying globalization has been a growing debate over the
desirability and feasibility of global democratic governance. Although
many observers acknowledge that regional and global institutions like the
World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, and the European
Union make values-based decisions affecting the lives of people around the
world, there is considerable disagreement about how to render those
institutions and their decisions more legitimate.
It might seem that legitimacy in global governance should derive from the
same source as legitimacy in other policy arenas: democracy. Some form of
popular participation combined with majoritarian decision-making could
render global institutions accountable to those who are affected by them.
Yet there is no consensus among either policymakers or scholars about the
desirability or feasibility of global democracy. Some scholars, including
Dahl (1999) and Keohane and Nye (2000), doubt that such arrangements are
possible; others, e.g. Held (1999), are more optimistic.
The ICANN elections offer social scientists a rare opportunity to study
democracy in global governance. Many of the theoretical issues identified
by scholars arose in the ICANN elections, such as:
* What does it mean to have a global demos? Who are "citizens"? What is
the basis for voting rights, if not state citizenship?
* What is the source of a global institution's legitimacy? Must it be
democracy? Are there alternative sources of legitimacy?
* What perspectives do global voters bring to decision-making that might
otherwise be absent? What are the substantive implications of democracy?
* How does global participation compare to smaller-scale democratic
processes, such as participatory technology design? Are smaller
ICANN's At Large Membership Study Committee (ALMSC) is leading a study
effort on the ICANN elections. The ALMSC has posed a series of questions
to the public:
* How should an ICANN 'At Large Member' be defined?
* What stake would 'At Large Members' have in the Internet domain names,
numbers, and protocol identifier system?
* What processes and structures should be established within ICANN for At
Large Member involvement?
To address such issues, a peer-reviewed symposium edition of the journal
_INFO_ is planned for summer 2001. Contributions are solicited from
scholars in public policy, law, and communications as well as policymakers
working on ICANN-related topics. Contributors will examine the ICANN
elections in order to gain insight into general issues in global democratic
Possible contributors include (this list is not definitive):
* Jonathan Weinberg, Wayne State University (Law)
* Eliesh O'Neil Lane, Georgia Institute of Technology (Public Policy)
* Myungkoo Kang, Seoul National University (Communications)
* Emerson Tiller, University of Texas (Business)
* Jeanette Hoffman, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (Sociology)
* Wolfgang Kleinwaechter, University of Aarhus (Communications)
* Hans Klein, Georgia Institute of Technology (Public Policy)
Articles in the symposium will scholarly in nature. However, the timetable
proposed here is compressed in order to coincide with the schedule of
ICANN's ALMSC. This symposium is intended to make a contribution to
on-going policy debates.
The proposed timetable is:
April 6 Abstract submission deadline
May 30 Paper submission deadline
June 21 Peer-review complete
July 11 Final manuscripts due
August Publication in INFO
Web Site and Mailing List
SYMPOSIUM WEB SITE: http://www.icannmembers.org/symposium
WEB SITE FOR _INFO_: http://www.camfordpublishing.com
ICANN STUDY COMMITTEE: http://www.atlargestudy.org
EMAIL LIST for contributors: to be established
The editor of this sympoisum is:
Assistant Professor of Public Policy
Georgia Institute of Technology
Atlanta, GA 30332-0345 USA
Tel: +1 404-894-2258
Fax: +1 404-894-0535
* Dahl, Robert, "Can International Organizations Be Democratic? A Skeptic's
View" in Shapiro, Ian, and Hacker-Cordon, Casiano, eds., Democracy's Edges
* Held, David, "The Transformation of Political Community: Rethinking
Democracy in the context of Globalization" in Shapiro and Casiano, eds.
* Keohane, Robert, and Nye, Joseph, "The Club Model of Multilateral
Cooperation and Problems of Democratic Legitimacy." Paper prepared for the
American Political Science Convention, September 2000.
Please submit abstracts by April 6 to
Information will be posted at
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