Networks and States

From Information Revolution and Global Politics

Networks and States

The Global Politics of Internet Governance

By Milton L. Mueller

How institutions for Internet governance are emerging from the tension between the territorially bound nation-state and a transnational network society.





How institutions for Internet governance are emerging from the tension between the territorially bound nation-state and a transnational network society.

When the prevailing system of governing divides the planet into mutually exclusive territorial monopolies of force, what institutions can govern the Internet, with its transnational scope, boundless scale, and distributed control? Given filtering/censorship by states and concerns over national cybersecurity, it is often assumed that the Internet will inevitably be subordinated to the traditional system of nation-states. In Networks and States, Milton Mueller counters this, showing how Internet governance poses novel and fascinating governance issues that give rise to a global politics and new transnational institutions. Drawing on theories of networked governance, Mueller provides a broad overview of Internet governance from the formation of ICANN to the clash at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), the formation of the Internet Governance Forum, the global assault on peer-to-peer file sharing, and the rise of national-level Internet control and security concerns.

Internet governance has become a source of conflict in international relations. Networks and States explores the important role that emerging transnational institutions could play in fostering global governance of communication-information policy.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262014595 320 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 7 figures


$25.00 X ISBN: 9780262518574 320 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 7 figures


  • I recommend this book to professionals in the field, as it is an exploratory analysis that is well supplemented with references to relevant sources.

    Diego Merani

    Computing Reviews


  • A brilliant political account of the clash between the new power of transnational Internet governance institutions and the traditional role of the nation-state as the principal mechanism of governance. Networks and States is required reading for anyone concerned about protecting Internet freedom on a global scale as these battles unfold.

    Laura DeNardis

    Yale University, author of Protocol Politics: The Globalization of Internet Governance

  • Networks and States is a reasoned and spirited contribution to the debates over the meaning—indeed, the very existence—of Internet governance. There is much to contest in it, which makes it all the more interesting and vital.

    Jonathan Zittrain

    Professor of Law and Professor of Computer Science, Harvard University, and author of The Future of the Internet — And How to Stop It

  • Milton Mueller's account of Internet governance is innovative in its application of network theory, fascinating in its case studies, and likely controversial in its policy judgments. In short, it is exactly what policy scholarship should contribute to a major international issue.

    Peter F. Cowhey

    Qualcomm Endowed Chair in Communications and Technology Policy, University of California, San Diego