CeASR Seminar- From Putney to ICANN: Going Global with the Struggle for Dem...
Global Inequalities Programme
Speaker: Dr Paul White
This paper makes the case that the struggle for democracy against powerful vested interests, which in previous centuries found expression at the nation-state level, can today be extended into the emerging political sphere of public-private global governance institutions. In developing this argument, the paper draws on the case of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), an organisation that has experimented with a global electoral mechanism for its executive body in the past. Some lessons from this experiment are explored, and the possibilities for a revival of ICANN’s electoral mechanism are discussed. In exploring these issues, comparisons are made between the situation in ICANN today, and the one that existed at national level in England in the pre-democratic era. It is argued that a revival of ICANN’s democratic mechanisms would do much to legitimise the organisation and ensure its accountability to the global Internet-using public. It is further argued that a successful revival of some form of representative democracy in the case of ICANN could act as a useful demonstration of the feasibility and desirability of democratisation in other global public-private policymaking bodies.
Refreshments available from 14:45 hours.