Policy Networks

the relationships among actors, from a variety of affiliations, who attempt to influence the processes and outcomes in a policy subsystem.

(Weible, 2005: 461),

Weible, C. 2005. Beliefs and Perceived Influence in a Natural Resource Conflict: An Advocacy Coalition Approach to Policy Networks. Political Research Quarterly, Vol. 58,  (3), pp. 461-475.

see also

The first dimension concerns the study of a policy network, which is defined as a social structure, comprises actors who interact in more variant forms of political processes across different levels rather than in what was formerly hierarchical policymaking (Coleman & Perl, 1999). (Ingold, 2011: 436)

Ingold, K. 2011. Network Structures within Policy Processes: Coalitions, Power, and Brokerage in Swiss Climate Policy. Policy Studies Journal, Vol. 39, (3), pp.435-459.


When power relations are at stake, the existence of a network among organizations does not seem to be a particularly strong influence or constraint on human action. In the brutal world of politics, loyalty is a luxury that few can afford. In the United Kingdom, Dowding (1995) has led a cogent attack on policy network approaches, with an influential article, and the debate continues (Dowding, 2001; Marsh & Smith, 2001).  A less polarized position would acknowledge that networks are more than contacts and power relations; they are sites for the exchange of ideas and perpetuation of social practices, which have a long-term impact on the content of public policies. Bu tthis claim takes the analysis to a new topic – the impact of ideas in public policy.

(John, 2003: 486)

John, P. 2003. Is There Life After Policy Streams, Advocacy Coalitions, and Punctuations: Using Evolutionary Theory to Explain Policy Change? The Policy Studies Journal, Vol. 31, No 4

Dowding, K. 1995. Model or metaphor: A critical review of the policy network approach. Political Studies, 431, 136-158.

Dowding, K.  2001. There must be an end to confusion: Policy networks, intellectual fatigue, and the need for political science methods courses in British universities. Political Studies, 491, 89 – 105.

See also policy communities, advocacy coalition framework, discourse coalitions

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