The Politics of Digitalization - the emergence of the Internet policy field in Germany

Abstract

Between 2015 and 2018, the research group analyzed the emergence of a new policy field related to the Internet and digitalization in Germany. Retracing the development of Internet policy since its origins in the field of telecommunication policy in the 1980s until today, we identified several phases of politicization and subsequent institutionalization of the new policy field and assessed the transformation this triggered for established policy fields such as economic policy, security policy or cultural policy.

Building on expert interviews and document analysis, we retraced how different state and non-state actors tried to make sense of the Internet and the digital transformation, and how they sought to shape it through public policies. To better understand the influence of competing interpretations of the institutional framework for Internet policy, we investigated the emergence of the policy field as a series of conflicts over meaning, expertise and resources between politicians, business associations, civil society and ministries. Like the history of other policy fields such as environmental policy, the emergence of the Internet policy field in Germany can be described as a continuous struggle over conflicting priorities and interpretations, as well as a struggle for a free and open Internet.

Our findings on the history of the Internet policy field are currently being edited into a book, which we expect to publish in early 2020. We also plan to extend our empirical research to other countries through an international comparison.

Contacts: Dr. Julia Pohle and Ronja Kniep

 

 

Resources:

Hösl, Maximilian/Kniep, Ronja (forthcoming): "Auf den Spuren eines Politikfeldes: Die Institutionalisierung von Internetpolitik in der Ministerialverwaltung". In: Berliner Journal für Soziologie (planned for Vol. 2, 2019).

Kniep, Ronja/Pohle, Julia (2019): "Das Netz politisch. Wie über Digitalisierung gestritten wird". In: WZB-Mitteilungen, H. 163, Sonderausgabe zu 50 Jahre WZB "in touch. Forschung und Gesellschaft", S. 66-67.

Hofmann, Jeanette/Kniep, Ronja (2018): "Die Pop-Karriere der deutschen Netzpolitik: Eine Erfolgsgeschichte?". Vortrag bei der re:publica 2018.

Pohle, Julia/Hösl, Maximilian/Kniep, Ronja (2016): "Analysing Internet Policy as a Field of Struggle". In: Internet Policy Review - Journal on Internet Regulation, Vol. 5, No. 3, S. 1-21.

Bergemann, Benjamin/Hofmann, Jeanette/Irgmaier, Florian/Hösl, Maximilian/Kniep, Ronja/Pohle, Julia (Eds.) (2016): Entstehung von Politikfeldern - Vergleichende Perspektiven und Theoretisierung. Ergebnisse des Workshops am 25. November 2015. WZB Discussion Paper SP IV 2016–401 SP IV 2016–401. Berlin: WZB.

Pohle, Julia (2016): "Die Bedeutung von Institutionen und Diskursen für die Entstehung von Politikfeldern". In: Benjamin Bergemann/Jeanette Hofmann/Maximilian Hösl/Florian Irgmaier/Ronja Kniep/Julia Pohle (Eds.): Entstehung von Politikfeldern – Vergleichende Perspektiven und Theoretisierung. Ergebnisse des Workshops am 25. November 2015. WZB Discussion Paper SP IV 2016–401. Berlin: WZB, S. 64-69.

Hösl, Maximilian/Irgmaier, Florian/Kniep, Ronja (2016): "Die Sprache der Kästchen und Linien. Organigramme erzählen, wie Politikfelder entstehen". In: WZB-Mitteilungen, H. 153, S. 36-39.

Haunss, Sebastian/Hofmann, Jeanette (2015): "Entstehung von Politikfeldern – Bedingungen einer Anomalie". In: Der moderne Staat - Zeitschrift für Public Policy, Recht und Management, Jg. 8, H. 1, Schwerpunktheft "Entstehung und Wandel von Politikfeldern", herausgegeben von Sebastian Haunss, S. 29-49.

Hofmann, Jeanette (2015): "The Netzpolitik.org Affair. A Turning Point". In: Internet Policy Review-Journal on Internet Regulation - Blog, 01.08.2015.

Hösl, Maximilian (2015): "Wie entstehen Politikfelder? Durch Grenzverhandlungen, wie das Beispiel Netzpolitik zeigt". In: WZB-Mitteilungen, H. 150, S. 38-41.