chapter  1
16 Pages

Net-Work Is Format Work: Issue Networks and the Sites of Civil Society Politics

WithNOORTJE MARRES

Introduction During the last decade we have witnessed the proliferation of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the exponential growth of civil society organizations (CSOs).1 e “network” is one of the prime conceptual, practical, and technical sites where these two developments come together. Arguably the most important feature of ICTs-of which the Internet is a fundamental component, both discursively and logistically-is that they facilitate networked forms of organization (of information and people). Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)—which have increased in number and in inuence on institutional political processesespecially at the intergovernmental level-are also oen characterized in terms of networks.2 Features that currently distinguish these organizations are their propensity to form partnerships, both among themselves

and with (inter-)governmental bodies and, sometimes, for-prot actors, and more radically, their commitment to decentralized and distributed ways of working.