On Dec. 6-8, 2012, the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, together with seven international co-organizers, hosted a symposium at
Harvard Law School titled Internet-Driven Developments: Structural
Changes and Tipping Points, convening representatives from Internet and
society research centers spanning 5 continents and 22 countries.
Building upon years of informal collaboration and research partnerships among
many attendees, participants discussed opportunities to sustain and
strengthen existing connections, and they considered how best to support initial efforts of the global network of Internet and society centers.
The opening session invited participants to share their ideas—and those
of their home institutions—regarding the most exciting, pressing, and
complex questions, problems, technological endeavors, and interventions
in the field. Subsequent sessions considered how a networked approach
might facilitate progress on those issues, via shared activities,
comparative research endeavors, exchange programs, global teaching
initiatives, and more.
“Beyond the rich substantive sessions and
concrete opportunities for project collaborations, we discussed ways in
which this type of network can play a valuable role in encouraging
cross-national, cross-disciplinary collaboration on some of the most
pressing questions that characterize the field of Internet &
society, broadly defined,” said Gasser. “By the close of the symposium,
we envisioned a number of arenas—ranging from international research
initiatives to a global teaching program—where an academically minded
collective could make meaningful impact at a local, national, regional,
and global level.”
The final report (PDF) from the symposium collects ideas surfaced throughout the
gathering and provides more detail regarding the potential future
direction and objectives of the network.