Disclosing and Concealing: Internet Governance, Information Control and the Management of Visibility

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    The ubiquity of digital technologies and the datafication of many domains of social liferaise important questions about governance. In the emergent field of internet governancestudies, most work has explored novel governance arrangements, institutional developmentsand the effects of interactions among public and private actors in the emergence of the internetas a matter of concern in global politics. But the digital realm involves more subtle forms ofgovernance and politics that also deserve attention. In this paper, I suggest that the 'ordering'effects of digital infrastructures also revolve around what I term the ‘management of visibilities’.Drawing on insights from science and technology studies and sociologies of visibility, the paperarticulates how digital technologies afford and condition ordering through the production ofvisibilities and the guidance of attention. The basic tenet of the argument is that there is anintimate relationship between seeing, knowing and governing, and that digitalisation anddatafication processes fundamentally shape how we make things visible or invisible, knowableor unknowable and governable or ungovernable. Having articulated this conceptual argument,the article offers a number of illustrations of such forms of ordering.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalInternet Policy Review
    Issue number3
    Pages (from-to)1-15
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • Internet governance
    • Science and technology studies (STS)
    • Sociology
    • Datafication
    • Visibilities

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