Negotiating the Net
I attended a presentation earlier today which introduced a book titled "Negotiating the Net" to be published later this year. The book is the result of more than two years of study on the African continent to identify critical issues that affected the diffusion of the Internet. The authors, led by professor Ernerst Wilson III of the University of Maryland, looked at Critical Negotiating Issues (CNI) that emerged in different countries on the continent, their timing and evolution. The book is based on country case studies and the presentations by various members of the study team followed this country case study approach, with an additional focus on continent wide critical negotiation issues. This link takes you to a different presentation than what I was presented today.
One thought came to mind: This study is clearly in the tradition of the literature on the political economy of reforms. It looks at critical issues of contention that affected the diffusion of the Internet. It identifies key stakeholders within government as well as in the private sector and civil society and it analyzes the arguments and motivations of all sides to better understand the blockages, hurdles and other obstacles that countries have to overcome to promote the rapid diffusion of the Internet.... So, my question is: How was this study influenced by the literature on the political economy of reforms (if at all)? Was this literature on the political economy of reforms taken into account when developing the framework for the study or later on when analyzing the data collected through numerous interviews in the countries selected as case studies? Is there anything that can be learned from the existing literature on the political economy of reforms that would apply to the politics of Internet policy making? What have we learned from reforms in other (non-IT) fields in terms of policy formulation, coalition building, capacity building, transforming policies into implementable action plans, etc... that would apply to Internet and broader IT policy areas? What is different about IT policies?