Internet Governance

Legitimacy and Legitimation in Global Internet Governance

My postdoc was part of the research project ‘Legitimacy outside the State: Governing the Global Internet.’ The project was led by Professor Jan Aart Scholte in the School of Global Studies (University of Gothenburg) and funded by the Swedish Research Council. 

The project examined how legitimacy operates in the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). This not-for-profit, global multistakeholder initiative oversees several key technical functions of the global Internet infrastructure. 

The project investigated the levels, sources, practices and consequences of legitimacy in ICANN. How far do different audiences regard Internet governance through ICANN as legitimate? On what grounds do these audiences base their legitimacy beliefs? What kinds of strategies and practices can strengthen (or weaken) the legitimacy of ICANN? And with what consequences? We have studied these questions by means of over 500 mixed-methods survey interviews with members of the ICANN board, ICANN staff (, the ICANN multistakeholder community, and participants in wider Internet governance. Findings will be made available in 2020 and 2021.

Publications on this topic:

Jongen, Hortense & Jan Aart Scholte (2022) ‘Inequality and Legitimacy in Global Governance: An Empirical Study,European Journal of International Relations, published online first

Jongen, Hortense & Jan Aart Scholte (2021) ‘Legitimacy in Multistakeholder Global Governance at ICANN’, Global Governance, 27 (2), pp. 298-324