The European debate on governance networks: Towards a new and viable paradigm?

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This paper aims to take stock of the European debate on governance networks in order to assess whether or not it has succeeded to develop a new a viable paradigm based on clear concepts, sound theories and methods and an expansive research agenda. The political and institutional conditions for the emergence of the Europe governance debate are analyzed and the notions of ‘governance’ and ‘governance networks’ are critically examined and defined. A brief assessment of the empirical significance of governance networks at different levels of governing is followed by a presentation and comparison of the main theories of governance networks that tend to draw on different strands of institutional theory. Finally, the large and expanding research agenda of the new ‘second generation’ of governance network research is revisited before concluding that, despite of the need for further methodological development, the European debate on governance networks provides a new and important paradigm for understanding the emerging forms of multilateral action and pluricentric governance.
TidsskriftPolicy and Society
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)329–344
Antal sider16
StatusUdgivet - 2014

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