Date of Award

Fall 12-17-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Shawn Powers

Second Advisor

Amelia Arsenault

Third Advisor

Ethan Tussey


This project examines the ongoing debate over internet content discrimination, more commonly referred to as network neutrality. It offers a new approach to examining this issue by combining a critical, political economy approach with Lawrence Lessig’s four modalities of regulation: policy, architecture, markets, and norms. It presents a critical, comparative case study analysis of how architecture, markets and norms have shaped United States policy along with comparative examples from select international case studies facing similar regulatory issues. Its findings suggest that while each of the four modalities plays a significant role in the regulation and persistence of network neutrality, there is a need for more clear, robust policy measures to address content discrimination online. Based on these analyses, the author offers policy recommendations for future network neutrality regulation.