Digital Dilemmas: Transnational Politics in the 21st Century

Franklin, M. I.. 2010. Digital Dilemmas: Transnational Politics in the 21st Century. The Brown Journal of World Affairs, 16(2), pp. 67-85. ISSN 1080-0786 [Article]

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As this article was being completed, the “unhappy marriage” between the Google Corporation and the Chinese central government was all but over.1 In late March 2010, the company announced the withdrawal of its core business from mainland China, the largest market of internet-users to date (around 400 million currently), thereby curtailing its future access to an even larger pool of would-be “googlers” (1.3 billion and rising) for the foreseeable future.2 It is a moot point whether this stand-off between the leadership of the world’s most populous country and fastest-growing economy and one of the most powerful corporations in the global ICT/media sector today can be read simply as a “public-private partnership” gone wrong or rather as an example of a socially responsible transnational corporation championing principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights —e.g. freedom of expression, freedom of information, freedom of movement—in the face of an intractable and authoritarian regime. Perhaps Google’s decision should be read more cynically still as a classical case of corporate-speak given its continued presence in other, arguably equally authoritarian countries.

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies



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Date Deposited:

08 Nov 2011 12:40

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 15:31

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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