The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis


CASA Working Paper 102


1 March 2006

Policy networks: conceptual developments and their European applications

Discussions on policy networks are becoming increasingly common in the analysis of public policy. However nowhere is to be found a common understanding of what policy networks are and how they operate. Little agreement exists even on whether policy networks are to be considered as a metaphor, a method or a proper theory with explanatory power. The paper will explore how the policy network approach has been developed to describe and explain the complexity of new forms of decision-making and policy implementation and their implications for democracy and effectiveness of the political system.

The focus is on conceptual frames developed in the context of policy and public administration studies seen here as specific sector of organisational studies. It will then move forward to review how this concepts have been incorporated in studies on emerging forms of spatial governance, namely multilevel and transnational governance with particular reference to the European context. Methodological perspectives and quantitative analytical approaches such as those developed within Social Network Analysis studies or in the more traditional fields of quantitative modelling of political behaviours and power distributions are not investigated in this literature review.

This working paper is available as a PDF. The file size is 426KB.

Authors: Elena Besussi

Publication Date: 1/3/2006

Download working paper No. 102.