Policy Networks, Policy Communities and the Problems of Governance

  • ATKINSON M
  • COLEMAN W
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Abstract

This article reviews and evaluates the literature on policy networks and policy communities that has emerged in the comparative public policy field. It argues that these concepts are important innovations because they suggest a renewed attempt to be both encompassing and discriminating in describing the policy process: encompassing because they refer to actors and relationships in the policy process that take us beyond political-bureaucratic relationships; discriminating because they suggest the presence of many communities and different types of networks. Yet if the concepts are going to continue to make a contribution, some problems must be resolved. The article suggests three that are particularly important: network and community concepts encounter obstacles in incorporating the influence of ma-cropolitical institutions and the power of political discourse; they have some difficulty in accommodating the internationalization of many policy domains; they have not addressed well the issues of policy innovation and policy change.

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Authors

  • MICHAEL M. ATKINSON

  • WILLIAM D. COLEMAN

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