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Internet governance : Why Plato is still relevant

Komaitis, Konstantinos (2009) Internet governance : Why Plato is still relevant. International Journal of Communications Law and Policy, 13. pp. 133-151.

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Abstract

In December 2008, the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) has successfully completed its third installment on issues pertaining to Internet governance. The IGF promotes a multi-stakeholder environment, where protagonists engage in an extensive debate to discuss how the Internet should look in the future; with these discussions in place issues of cultural diversity and cultural relativism become more relevant than ever before. However, culture is normally followed by zeal; zeal to preserve it and to adhere to its historical significance. This is like a Damocles sword, since tradition and its relative - custom - can potentially prohibit progress and pose threats to social structures; more precisely, in international environments, like the Internet, certain traditions can be mistakenly considered as more valuable and exhibited thereon as more 'exclusive' than others. This being the case, it is undeniable that custom not only will play a significant role in the governance of the Internet, but this role will, in turn, be able to determine the dynamics within its structure. This paper discusses the influential role of custom and its effects within the society of Internet Governance; it then proceeds to discuss an interpretation of justice, which demonstrates the way custom might be enforced and imposed upon various subjects. Finally, this paper shows that these conflicting customs should not necessarily annihilate multiparticipatory governance structures, rather assist in their progress.