The Participation of Non-Governmental Stakeholders in Internet Governance in Brazil: An Assessment of CGI.br's Elections
31 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2018
Date Written: January 22, 2018
This paper studies the electoral process facilitated by the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee (CGI.br) to enable non-governmental stakeholder groups to appoint their representatives to the board of CGI.br for three-year terms. Specifically, it focuses on the 2013 and 2016 elections.
By conducting an in-depth comparative analysis of the 2013 and the 2016 processes -- from the formation of each respective electoral college until the final result of the election in each case -- this paper aims to provide a general overview of issues related to power distribution and stakeholder representation as well as the role of elites in Internet governance in Brazil. As CGI.br is the focal point for consensus building vis-à-vis Internet governance (IG) among different stakeholders in Brazil, this paper argues that political disputes which happen within the committee’s board represent disputes among different hegemonic groups and individuals around IG-related issues in Brazil and abroad.
The research relies on the theoretical and methodological tools employed by Chenou (2014) in his analysis of global Intern et governance. Specifically the research assesses the formation of power elites and the mobilization of different social groups around a specific political project (Wright Mills, 2000) - namely Internet governance in Brazil. For that it applies quantitative and qualitative approaches to study of the composition of the 2013 and 2016 electoral colleges as well as the result of each election. The research draws on data publicly available on the CGI.br website for the construction of detailed charts, graphs and maps that reveal the general characteristics of the power clusters and the representation in each case. It also conducts semi-structured interviews with selected stakeholders and participant observation in order to assess the political strategies employed during the elections. However, the correlations between the results of the electoral processes and the policy agenda of the institution as well as the role of power asymmetries in stakeholder representation have not yet been properly addressed by specialized scholarship in the country. While it does not directly address the issue of policy-making, this paper paves the way for future research on the matter.
The following sections comprise this paper: a summary description of CGI.br’s history, its institutional features, and the activities it performs on a daily basis; a detailed account of the research design employed by the authors to study CGI.br’s electoral process; and the analysis of the data collected during the investigation. After these, some concluding remarks and perspectives for further inquiry are presented.
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