Building bridges across disciplinary boundaries
The Internet Research Network is an open network for scholars interested in the Internet to share work, garner feedback and collaborate. Since the rise of the Internet is increasingly affecting nearly all parts of life, it is an increasingly relevant topic across nearly all academic disciplines. Researching topics related to the Internet often requires us to jump over the traditional boundaries between them and our group is intended to facilitate making that jump. Although we are based at the University of Toronto, anyone is welcome to join.
At our monthly seminars, usually held at the last Wednesday of the month at 4 pm (see events calendar), members present their current research to get feedback and ideas from scholars across a diverse set of disciplines. We currently have about 30 members and welcome anyone who shares our interests. Join us!
President (2015 – )
PhD Candidate in Political Science, University of Toronto
Early during his Ph.D., Lennart began to realize that finding answers to the questions on the Internet, technological change and its connection to social change he and several of his colleagues were interested in went beyond the scope of one discipline. Since there was no forum for interdisciplinary exchange on these topics, Lennart set about to create one. In 2015, he founded the Internet Research Network and it has since grown to about 30 members from a diverse set of disciplines.
His dissertation examines the nature of power in cyberspace, focusing on the limits of coercion and resulting strategic change. Rather than a domain of warfare, cyberspace is marked by competition by covert means that fall below the traditional threshold of conflict, yet are still effective means of projecting power. Lennart’s research thus traces the shifting strategic calculus behind using covert operations by comparing cyber operations to Cold War espionage and political warfare. In addition, Lennart is currently working on a research project tracking cyber threats to civil society in conjunction with Columbia University.
Lennart is also a Doctoral Fellow at the Citizen Lab and a Carnegie Fellow at Columbia University’s School of International Affairs and Public Administration.
Treasurer (2015 – )
Secretary (2015 – )
PhD Candidate in Sociology, University of Toronto
Gabriel realized at the outset of the IRN’s founding that the group provides a much-needed outlet to discuss emerging issues that cut across traditional disciplinary boundaries; he has been actively involved ever since.
His own research centers on the implications of information and communications technologies for the relationship between states, markets, and citizens, and vice versa. This is motivated by his belief that the 21st century will be profoundly shaped by the outcome of struggles over how to distribute the benefits of technological development. Gabriel addresses these themes in his dissertation work through a case study of Network Neutrality regulations in the United States and United Kingdom. He has found that, in the U.S. at least, a split in competition over telecommunications markets has opened a wedge into which groups concerned with broader social change have found a foothold – and that this helps explain the perplexing development of strong market intervention in spite of powerful deregulatory pressures.