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Postcolonial states and internet governance: possibilities of a counter-hegemonic bloc?

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(Thesis) Ph.D.
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The role of the postcolonial states (PSs) is under-theorized in contemporary global communication studies. This dissertation broadens our understanding about the role of such states by assessing the positions of China, India, Brazil, South Africa, Iran, Tunisia and Cuba on global Internet policy issues in comparison to those of the other stakeholders (e.g. the U.S., the EU, civil society and businesses) at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). It argues that global Internet policy making in issues such as U.S. control, digital divide, intellectual property right, multilingualism and security is a power struggle between the U.S. and the PSs. The PSs oppose U.S. power in global Internet policy-making. Businesses, representing the transnational capitalist class (TCC), buttress the U.S., while civil society plays a variable role. Non-state actors’ influence on global communication policy-making has increased, but states still hold decision-making power. This study argues that the PSs show ambivalence in their opposition to the U.S. They oppose U.S. power in global Internet policy-making, but not its ideological foundation—neoliberalism. This behavior eventuates as a result of their adoption of neoliberal means (e.g. privatization, liberalization etc) in managing the economic and communication sectors, including the Internet, at the national level. They oppose the U.S. to become a partner in the U.S. constructed mode of global Internet policy-making but not to create a true alternative to the existing ICANN mode of global Internet policy-making. Their ambivalence led them stage a limited resistance to U.S. control over global Internet policy-making. This study demonstrates that the PSs have common grounds in challenging U.S. control over global Internet policy-making, but they are yet to develop as a counter-hegemonic bloc. To emerge as a counter-hegemonic bloc, they need to present an alternative framework which will guide ways to radically democratize global Internet policy-making. Only radically democratized PSs may be able to develop that alternative.
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