1st Edition

Technology and Governance Beyond the State The Rule of Non-Law

Edited By Nicole Stremlau, Clara Voyvodic Casabó Copyright 2025
    216 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book explores how information and communications technologies are adapted, governed, and reinterpreted in areas where the state has limited reach.

    The governance and regulation of new technologies, from social media to AI, has never seemed more urgent. Efforts to harness the potential benefits, to encourage innovation and novel applications, yet restrain the known and unknown harmful aspects of these technologies, have posed unprecedented challenges. This book brings together an eclectic collection of cases from around the world – from the favelas in Brazil, to the border regions of Ethiopia and Somalia, to markets in Thailand - to tease out the broader arguments and logics about how diverse enabling environments for technology and innovation may evolve and the wide range of public authorities that may be involved in providing governance and security for such innovation, beyond the state. The term ‘the rule of non-law’ refers to the breadth and array of rules, norms and systems that enable novel technological assemblages and uses. By looking at technologies and the rule of non-law in areas that are often seen as marginal or at the peripheries (from a profit and business perspective), the book reflects new insights back to more Western-dominated mainstream debates about law, technology, and innovation.

    This book will be of great interest to students of Socio-Legal Studies, Science and Technology Studies, (Critical) Security Studies and International Relations.


    List of Contributors




    Chapter 1 Non-State Law and Technology: Theory and Themes

    Nicole Stremlau and Clara Voyvodic Casabó 



    Section I: Tradition and Modernity


    Chapter 2 Digitalising Traditions: Custom, Land, Biodiversity and Resource Management in Vanuatu

    Francis Hickey and Daniel Robinson



    Chapter 3 Tradition, Tussle, and Technology: the Khap Panchayat’s guide to regulating mobile phones in India

    Nishanth Vasanth 


    Chapter 4 ‘Crowdfarming’ in South Africa: Using Platform Technology to Connect Tradition and Modernity

    Andrew Hutchinson



    Section II: Borderlands


    Chapter 5 The Regulation of Cross-border Trading of Mobile Phones in the Ethio-Somaliland Corridor

    Asnake Kefale 



    Chapter 6 Ambivalent state governance and counter-governance: Migrants on the move in the France-UK techno-borderscape

    Giorgia Doná and Marie Godin



    Chapter 7 Moderating Digital Communities in Hybrid Governance Contexts: The case of refugees’ digital inclusion and communication in Nairobi

    Charles Martin-Shields



    Chapter 8 The Legal Geographies of Thailand’s Technology Markets

    Daniel Robinson and Duncan McDui-Ra



    Part III: Challenges to the State


    Chapter 9 Performative State building in the Digital World: ISIS and Monetary Economics

    Ayse D. Lokmanoglu




    Chapter 10 The role of the mobile network operators in conflicting governance systems: 

    A case study of the mobile telecommunications industry in Afghanistan 

    Sameer Azizi



    Chapter 11 Informality and the Internet: Alternative Versions of Technological Governance in Brazil

    Jeffrey Omari and Jason Bartholomew Scott 



    Part IV: Digital Spaces



    Chapter 12  Decentralized governance opportunities in the energy sector: Examples from blockchain-based initiatives

    Andres Diaz-Valdivia and Marta Poblet


    Chapter 13 Manufacturing legitimacy:  Content Moderation and the Absence of the State

    Monroe E. Price and Joshua Martin Price


    Chapter 14 Conclusions and Reflections on the Future of Technology and Regulation in Areas of Limited Statehood

    Nicole Stremlau and Clara Voyvodic Casabó 




    Nicole Stremlau is Head of the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy at the University of Oxford’s Centre for Socio-Legal Studies and Research Professor in the School of Communications at the University of Johannesburg.

    Clara Voyvodic Casabó is a Lecturer in Peace Studies and International Development at the University of Bradford in the Department of Peace and International Development.