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Frontier Compliance: A Communication System Emerging in Cyberspace
Unformatted Document Text:  5 ICANN’s Internet governance, especially the domain name dispute resolution system, demonstrates a new frame of system in which a particular kind discourse takes place. Identifying the particular nature of this communication system evolving out of a particular kind of situations, i.e., frontier conditions, which is distinguished from a dominant system that we have taken for granted, i.e., the mainstream traditional dispute resolution system such as law, is the main goal of this project. Rather than assuming the invariability of the bases to which communication takes place, I try to illustrate that the larger frames of communication may vary, by laying out features of a system that is unique, outside of norm, hegemony and dominance. I will first describe the American West and cyberspace as the frontier conditions, and discuss the various attempts for self- governance that evolve in these conditions. Next I will describe characteristics of the mechanisms of the new system in the West and in cyberspace, and finally discuss the result of these mechanisms and their implications. Frontier Conditions Exigence in the American West What distinguished the American West clearly from the “civilized” Eastern society is its frontier conditions, characterized by its untamedness and lawlessness. The West of the 19 th century was viewed by the easterners as new and unknown places and a promised land, to which the newcomers are willing to enter and take a risk of operating out of the existing system to obtain what they want. During the process of settlements, frontiersmen used self-protection in the form of frontier codes. The settlers often used force or the threat of force to bully other settlers into compliance. For example, conflicts among cattlemen and between cattlemen and sheepmen often result in bloody gunfights (Lewis, 1996, p. 251; Rosa, 1969, p. 25). Because settlements were often ahead of regular courts of law and beyond the reach of peace officers, frontiersmen settled problems and disputes themselves (Lewis, 1996, 251). And because lawmen might be miles away and by the time they could be summoned it was often too late, outlaws had little to fear as the chance of capture and punishment is remote (Rosa, 1969, 16-17). Also the Code of the West, a set of mental beliefs, required a man to personally redress wrongs done to him, to stand his ground in any conflict situation (Lewis, 1996, p. 252). Due to the Code and the absence of formal law enforcement, the law of the gun was paramount in the West. What the gun signifies in the West was quite paradoxical. It was the tool of justice as well as destruction and became the weapon of outlaws but also that of

Authors: Woo, Jisuk.
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5
ICANN’s Internet governance, especially the domain name dispute resolution system,
demonstrates a new frame of system in which a particular kind discourse takes place.
Identifying the particular nature of this communication system evolving out of a
particular kind of situations, i.e., frontier conditions, which is distinguished from a
dominant system that we have taken for granted, i.e., the mainstream traditional dispute
resolution system such as law, is the main goal of this project. Rather than assuming the
invariability of the bases to which communication takes place, I try to illustrate that the
larger frames of communication may vary, by laying out features of a system that is
unique, outside of norm, hegemony and dominance. I will first describe the American
West and cyberspace as the frontier conditions, and discuss the various attempts for self-
governance that evolve in these conditions. Next I will describe characteristics of the
mechanisms of the new system in the West and in cyberspace, and finally discuss the
result of these mechanisms and their implications.
Frontier Conditions
Exigence in the American West
What distinguished the American West clearly from the “civilized” Eastern
society is its frontier conditions, characterized by its untamedness and lawlessness. The
West of the 19
th
century was viewed by the easterners as new and unknown places and a
promised land, to which the newcomers are willing to enter and take a risk of operating
out of the existing system to obtain what they want. During the process of settlements,
frontiersmen used self-protection in the form of frontier codes. The settlers often used
force or the threat of force to bully other settlers into compliance. For example, conflicts
among cattlemen and between cattlemen and sheepmen often result in bloody gunfights
(Lewis, 1996, p. 251; Rosa, 1969, p. 25). Because settlements were often ahead of
regular courts of law and beyond the reach of peace officers, frontiersmen settled
problems and disputes themselves (Lewis, 1996, 251). And because lawmen might be
miles away and by the time they could be summoned it was often too late, outlaws had
little to fear as the chance of capture and punishment is remote (Rosa, 1969, 16-17).
Also the Code of the West, a set of mental beliefs, required a man to personally redress
wrongs done to him, to stand his ground in any conflict situation (Lewis, 1996, p. 252).
Due to the Code and the absence of formal law enforcement, the law of the gun was
paramount in the West.
What the gun signifies in the West was quite paradoxical. It was the tool of
justice as well as destruction and became the weapon of outlaws but also that of


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