Dear Readers,

It states the obvious to note the ubiquity of the global internet in contemporary society. Today some 5.5 billion people worldwide (70 percent of humanity) are regular users of this global communications network. Individuals now spend on average nearly 7 hours per day online. How people are governed in this virtual sphere therefore has far-reaching implications for human existence in the twenty-first century.

Given this significance, the KHK/Centre for Global Cooperation Research emphasises global internet governance as one of its focal policy fields. Since 2018 a regular flow of research fellows has joined several of our core staff in exploring the varied and often distinctive forms of global cooperation in the internet arena. Important scientific and policy contributions have resulted, including several books released and forthcoming in our Routledge Global Cooperation Series.

This Special Issue of the Centre’s Global Cooperation Research – A Quarterly Magazine adds to this work with a set of provocative essays on the hotly contested subject of ‘Unity and Diversity in Global Internet Governance’. In a word: how far do we want the global internet to be singular and unified or plural and fragmented? Our contributing authors enter this debate from different parts of the world (Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe), different academic disciplines (international relations, law, politics, sociology), different theoretical positions (from liberal to postcolonial), and different substantive problems (from blockchain to misinformation).

In addition to this special thematic section, this issue of the Quarterly Magazine also includes regular features covering the Centre’s recent and forthcoming events, new fellows, and recent publications.

We wish you a good read!


Sigrid Quack
Managing Director

Sigrid Quack is the Managing Director of the Käte Hamburger Kolleg/Centre for Global Cooperation Research (KHK/GCR21) and Professor of Sociology at the University of Duisburg-Essen. She can be reached at quack@gcr21.uni-due.de.