The anatomy of neoliberal Internet governance: a queer critical political economy perspective

Monika Zalnieriute

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter moves beyond narratives of the liberatory role of the Internet and digital technologies for queer communities by examining the current neoliberal model of Internet governance from a queer critical economy perspective. In particular, it discusses how the neoliberal model has been used to repress and limit the rights of queer people (among others) and how such repressions have been justified. I start by outlining the celebrated dominant narrative of the liberatory potential of the Internet for various oppressed and marginalised groups such as queer people, women, ethnic and racial minorities, before introducing the emerging counter-narrative, which suggests that these evolving technologies enable new modes of control and suppression that can be exercised by way of the communication mediums themselves. In the second part, I discuss the anatomy of the neoliberal model of Internet governance and introduce the concept of the Information-Industrial-Complex (IIC) and its significance in the political economy of the Internet. I explain how the IIC has enabled powerful state and non-state actors to repress the rights of queer people both in the global South and North. The third part focuses on the ways in which the repression of queer rights on the Internet, as well as the structurally unjust system of Internet governance, built around the needs of the IIC, is maintained and justified. The prevailing narratives for justifying and sustaining the current Internet governance model are juxtaposed to those deployed in other areas of international politics and law, such as ‘pinkwashing’, to achieve strategic geopolitical ends and maintain the (im)balances of global power and economy. The chapter concludes that such similarities are unsurprising, given that the Internet is a socio-technical system, which is not simply a neutral technology (like is often mistakenly assumed), but rather reflects normative political bargains and continuing battles for power and resources. In the fast-changing and complex reality of the information economy, the ‘struggle for new rights’1 - both offline and online - for queer communities around the globe inevitably has to continue. This chapter aims to reveal the power disparities involved in information exchange and debunk the justifications that support such disparities in order to better understand the state of the art and open the way for new strategies of queer resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationQueering international law
Subtitle of host publicationpossibilities, alliances, complicities, risks
EditorsDianne Otto
Place of PublicationLondon ; New York
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781315266787
ISBN (Print)9780367886370, 9781138289918
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


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