The Global Internet Governance Academic Network (GigaNet) is an international association of academic researchers in internet governance. The network was founded in 2006 by a group of scholars engaged in the WSIS, WGIG, and the IGF processes to establish internet governance as a field of study and support multidisciplinary scholarship on internet governance. Members include researchers from a wide range of disciplines and locations who are contributing to research, teaching, and engagement in local, regional, and international debates on internet governance worldwide. GigaNet seeks to broaden its membership in an inclusive way, with particular attention on welcoming scholars from the Global South and other under-represented communities in the academy.
As a volunteer-run and membership-driven network, it is supported by the efforts of many people, including an eight-member steering committee, a number of standing committees and task forces, and an active membership body. It organizes an Annual Symposium for internet governance scholars, which takes place on Day Zero of the global Internet Governance Forum (IGF). In addition, GigaNet members organize regional and academic events, often in conjunction with other academic forums and non-academic stakeholders.
What do we mean by internet governance?
Initially, GigaNet members focused on studying the governance of critical internet resources (names, addresses, protocols) and were instrumental in establishing the field of internet governance studies. Over the years the meaning and scope of “internet governance” has expanded to become an evolving and fluid concept that is increasingly multidisciplinary. Today internet governance is an umbrella term for a wide range of issues involving policy and governance of technologically mediated processes of digitisation and datafication and their impact, influence, and meaning. Internet governance includes institutional, normative, and behavioral aspects of a range of issues and practices related to technology and society, including platform governance, big data, values, power structures, geopolitics of technology, and myriad other issues, as the syllabi in GigaNet’s repository attest.
Our guiding values
- Academic excellence and integrity
- Geographic and social inclusiveness of internet governance scholars
- Epistemological and methodological diversity of scholarship
- Collaboration and engaged scholarship
- Transparency and accountability of GigaNet
- Independent and not-for-profit
- Supportive of its membership
The five principal objectives of GigaNet are to:
- Support the establishment and ongoing maintenance of a global network of scholars specializing in internet governance issues writ large;
- Promote the development of internet governance as a recognized, interdisciplinary field of study while helping shape its trajectory and address emerging ways of conceptualizing the field;
- Advance theoretical and applied research on internet governance, broadly defined,
- Nurture the development of the next generation of internet governance scholars, and;
- Engage with and facilitate dialogues on policy issues and related matters between scholars and internet governance stakeholders (governments, international organizations, the private sector, and civil society).