Global Village, Global Marketplace, Global War On Terror: Metaphorical Reinscription And Global Internet Governance

My thesis examines how metaphors of globalization shape the global governance of the Internet. I consider how, in a short span of time, discussions of the Internet’s globalizing potential have gone from the optimism of the global village to the penchant of the global marketplace to the anxiety of the global war on terror. Building upon Rorty’s theory of metaphors and Foucault’s notion of productive power, I investigate how the shifts in these prevailing metaphors have produced and legitimated different frameworks of global governance. In considering how these patterns of governance have been shaped in the context of a familiar example of globalization, I demonstrate that globalization has an important discursive dimension that works as a constitutive force – not only in Internet governance but in global governance more generally. By illuminating globalization’s discursive dimensions, this thesis makes an original theoretical contribution to the study of globalization and global governance. It demonstrates that globalization is more than a set of empirical flows: equally important, globalization exists as a set of discourses that reconstitute political legitimacy in more ‘global’ terms. This recasts the conventional understanding of global governance: rather than a response to the challenges posed by the empirical transcendence of territorial borders or the visible proliferation of non-state actors, the aims, institutions, and policies of global governance are shaped and enabled by discourses of globalization and evolve as these discourses change. In short, this thesis provides further insight into globalization’s transformations of state-based political order. It links these transformations to the discursive processes by which systems of global governance are produced and legitimated as sites of power and authority.

Tags: global governance, globalisation, Internet, terrorism, war on terror