Policy processes at all levels are characterized by a heterogeneous set of public and private as well as national and transnational actors who influence these processes through networks. Such networks form around intractable policy issues that need to be addressed with “strategic alliances, joint working arrangements, networks, partnerships and many other form of collaboration across sectoral and organizational boundaries” (Williams, 2002, p. 103). In recent decades, political scientists have developed various theories of political networks to address different forms of cooperation between policy actors at all levels (e.g., policy network theory, issue networks, epistemic communities, advocacy coalition framework, transnational advocacy networks, discourse networks). The aim of the seminar is to introduce participants to these theoretical concepts and to enable an integration of other central and related concepts such as authority, influence and power. The theories will be discussed against the background of empirical studies in various contexts (e.g., international climate and disability policy). At the end of the seminar, students should be able to apply different theoretical approaches in relation to policy networks and develop research questions based on them.

Semester: WT 2022/23