Geert Lovink on Tue, 31 Oct 2006 10:38:55 +0100 (CET)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> Internet and the Intellectuals

Dear nettimers,

as some of you will know this week IGF, the Internet Governance Forum
( is on in Athens. It's the forum that
has been created by Kofi Annan after the the second World Summit on
the Internet Society, held in Tunis, November 2005. There are over
1200 delegates from 90 countries. Even though the topics look familiar
the overall tone seems somewhat less formal. The topics vary from
promomoting multilingualism and local content, openness, security and
access (see program:
One workshop clearly stood out for me, one that I had never seen
in this Internet governance, namely the role of intellectuals in
the IGF. As some of you might know in 1997 I wrote an essay about
virtual intellectuals Below an excerpt. I associate the sudden
appearance of this topic with the remark of Nitin Desai, chair of
the Internet Governance Forum organising group, who said: "The
net has outgrown its origins as a network run by and for computer
specialists. With a billion plus users world-wide it is no longer the
preserve of scientists and technologists. The big expansion now is
taking place in the non-English speaking developing world. It is now
becoming a central part of public administration, business operations,
telecommunications, news dissemination and entertainment."



Intellectuals in the IGF policy process:  From knowledge to results

The IGF is a deliberative body ? it ?thinks? about the governance
question, intending to move thought to ?action? in its policy
audience. This puts a premium on disciplined and methodical analysis ?
which is the preserve of intellectuals and academics, when they hew to
their core. How best can IGF engage its intellectuals, to maximize the
quality of IGF output over its five years?

For the first half, the workshop asks, ?What is the role of
intellectuals?? The second half of the workshop asks, ?How might that
work?? A two-panelist team ?provokes? discussion for each segment,
with brief presentations. The objective is discussion.

Among the questions to be addressed:

Are intellectuals wise people who guide the policy-making process, or
can there be a complementary partnership between the doers and the

If intellectuals accept a place of trust, as neutral investigators,
how do they keep that faith when they advocate policy?

What is the place of trust, between intellectuals and policy makers?

How can policy makers and intellectuals get best results for and from
each other? What working methods and time frames serve best?

Are there particular requirements on the intellectual community?

The central objective is fruitful discussion among all who attend.
Likely outputs are action items: how IGF may most effectively engage
its intellectuals over five years.

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: contact: