Histoire contemporaine européenne

Internet : A Political Issue for Europe (1970s – 2010s)

How has the Internet come about in Europe? How did the “network of networks” and ICTs become political stakes for EU institutions? This chapter proposes to shed light on facts, limits and tensions of the building of a political Union in the ICT regulation field. It analyses the role of various stakeholders, from technical experts to ordinary citizens, according to an historical approach structured around three key notions: appropriating, governing and using the Internet.
By studying a relatively long period (from the 1970s to the early 2010s), and by observing the Internet as a tool for both internal consolidation, and for asserting the EU on the international stage, we intend to map out the main features and trends that structure the European relationship to the “network of networks”. We thus show that the Internet’s political dimension encompasses numerous and heterogeneous issues in the European context.

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