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Organizing Hybrid Forums UCM Power Theory on Networks

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Organizing Hybrid Forums UCM Power Theory on Networks is part of a corse course in the Degree on International Relations, under the direction of Dr. Olga Gil at Universidad Complutense de Madrid

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Organizing Hybrid Forums UCM Power Theory on Networks

  1. 1. Maria Vitali Rosati History and Theory of Power Mikkel Flyverbom Organising Hybrid Forums From The Power of Networks: Organising the Global Politics of the Internet Trabajo dirigido por la Profesora Dra. Olga Gil Facultad de Política y Sociología UCM Madrid 2017 ERASMUS Student King’s College London
  2. 2. INDEX • Introduction • The process of ordering: a comparative analysis of UNICTTF and WGIG (1) Enrolment, (2) Positioning, (3) Structuring, (4) Acting, (5) Connecting • The issue of transparency • The objective of dialogue • Conclusions • Bibliography 1
  3. 3. INTRODUCTION. 2
  4. 4. Introduction • Organisations are based on the process of ordering, which involves stabilisation of relations, practices and goals • Conventional approaches to organisations focus on their structure, functioning and performance, and the behaviour of groups/individuals working within them; they start off from 3 assertions: 1) Organisations are structures containing people; 2) They have stable relations and predictable ways of carrying out actions, through rules, manuals, values regulating behaviour; 3) They have a purpose, often in the form of a business strategy or a defined set of goals. • Hybrid Forums offer an alternative conception of ‘organisation’, because they lack many of the aforementioned features – fluid arrangements, constantly developing, aiming often at a moving target 3
  5. 5. Introduction (2) Perspectives • Organisation of global politics of the digital revolution can take various forms – Well-defined working groups, stable organisation with different departments, loosely-coupled network, fluid social movement – Yet, they are never fixed (Flyverbom, 2011) • Substantialist position: organisations are bounded, fixed entities • Author’s position: nothing is fixed, what is seemingly fixed may soon change, organisation perceived as constant ordering, involving disorganisation • Epistemic Communities (Haas, 1992) present policy problems and their solutions to decision-makers, in moments of uncertainty; approach grounded in cognitive psychology • Transnational Advocacy Networks (Keck & Sikkink, 1998), composed of civil society groups, «’frame’ issues to make them comprehensible, attract attention, encourage action» 4
  6. 6. The Process of Ordering - A Comparative Analysis of UNICTTF and WGIG. 5
  7. 7. Enrolment: First Moment of Ordering • UNICTTF and WGIG are both a direct response to a need of UN-driven, multi- stakeholder processes to address the global politics of the Internet • Members of different social worlds have some common principles and goals, nonetheless, they do not agree on how to reach the latter • The process of ordering involves a number of governmental techniques, which are central to making cooperation possible • Callon’s “moment of enrolment” involves practices to strengthen relations among stakeholders belonging to different social worlds 6
  8. 8. Positioning: Second Moment of Ordering • Both Hybrid Forums were conceived as institutional innovations to the UN system, functional to cross-sectoral learning and dialogue for stakeholders, allowing them to respond collectively to common concerns • Both needed to be positioned carefully within the UN: keep some degree of distance, relying on UN’s financial resources and legitimisation, avoiding its inertia and bureaucracy • UNICTTF was highly integrated from the outset, although its constitution and level of autonomy were very different, as well as its principles of full membership, equal footing; operating independently • WGIG also needed careful positioning: created as advisory body to the Secretary-General; based on principles of equal footing, openness, transparency – obstacles virtually removed by UNICTTF • Conflict over uniqueness and novelty, but recognition from both parties of the congruent nature of their efforts, being parts of the same process of innovation 7
  9. 9. Structuring: Third Moment of Ordering • The Inclusion of non-state actors was perceived as a rather sensitive issue, causing the need for novel ways of structuring interactions and processes, as well as the aforementioned careful positioning • Functional to the identity of the networks was the involvement of different types of authority and the engagement of members who would add momentum and legitimacy, due to the initiatives’ need for sustainability • UNICTTF: organisational arrangement of a core group, a small steering group, a panel of advisers and local and regional groupings vital to its purpose  A ‘global network of networks’, based on cross-sectoral representation, flexibility and outreach • WGIG: much simpler at the outset, with solely a core group; it developed critically as the awareness and needs on Internet Governance increased; organisational arrangement of a forum for dialogue based on equal footing among state and non-state actors acting as individuals – fostering freedom for some, representing an obstacle for others • Equal footing proved difficult to reach in practice: some members have more weight in reality, which demands careful navigation around contentious issues and leadership  A different conception of consensus necessary to avoid UN deadlock and move forward 8
  10. 10. Acting: Fourth Moment of Ordering • Certain qualities are needed for members to be able to influence the process and outcomes of the initiatives • UNICTTF: members need effective communication, enthusiasm, administrative and financial backing, the lack of which can limit their influence dramatically  there is a limit for the possibility of dialogue detached from the reality of social worlds • WGIG: less need for financial and administrative backing; elements to pursue are commitment, dedication, enthusiasm; civil society members have proved to be the most active 9
  11. 11. Connecting: Fifth Moment of Ordering • Both Hybrid Forums strategically built ties to broader groups of social worlds, through Internet – and other forms of communication – and careful navigation • Both Hybrid Forums had websites with the purpose of posting news, working papers or other types of information • UNICTTF established a very elaborate communication strategy from the outset: twofold nature of the website’s goal; mobilising the support of global public and stakeholders, through various types of online activities • WGIG had no elaborate communication strategy: the Internet should play a key role in the management and the activities of the group  a website and a password- protected mailing list, heavily used throughout time 10
  12. 12. Transparency and Dialogue The issue of transparency • UNICTTF and WGIG both adopted “Chatham House Rule” to omit names in recordings of meetings: statements foregrounded, attention drawn away from power imbalances • ICTs never central to activities: necessity of making strategic choices of the information that can be published The objective of dialogue • Different goals for UNICTTF and WGIG, but share interest in avoiding UN negotiations’ political conflict: emphasis on non-operational nature and purpose of interactions/consensus  «The power of international organisations lies in their ability to present themselves as impersonal and neutral» (Barnett and Finnemore, 2005) • UNICTTF’s participatory, democratic, meaningful manner of addressing issues; non-operational nature fosters synergy and cooperation (UNICTTF Deputy Executive Coordinator, 2004) • WGIG’s purpose of drawing reflection on issues – successful for some, dangerous for others; non- operational character stressed from outset 11
  13. 13. Conclusions • The author draws the attention to the lack of literature that perceives the concept of organisation as an ongoing process • It is important and necessary to analyse hybrid forums through the various phases of the process of its creation • The formal foundational pillars of both hybrid forums are, in practice, very difficult to realise • The notion of power can be identified in the elements of financial/administrative backing, enthusiasm, commitment, effective communication, as well as in the role played by the stakeholders within the hybrid forums 12
  14. 14. Bibliography • M. Flyverbom, Organizing Hybrid Forums (pp. 67-97), The Power of Networks: Organizing the Global Politics of the Internet, Edward Edgar Publishing Limited, (Cheltenham, UK – Northampton, MA: 2011) 13
  15. 15. THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION! 14

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