Elites in Transnational Policy Networks

Lasse Folke Henriksen, Leonard Seabrooke*

*Corresponding author for this work

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In this framing article for the special issue we contrast the aims and ambitions of three core approaches to elites in transnational policy networks and highlight where they have productive overlaps. The core approaches employ three distinctive theoretical lenses in their investigations: fields, hegemony, and institutions. We discuss how these approaches trace elites in transnational policymaking and associated methods, such as network analysis, sequence analysis and field theory, which highlight different aspects of how elites in transnational policy networks operate. Most of the contributions are concerned with mapping out elite careers and why career trajectories matter for field and network positions in transnational policymaking. While the contributions share this in common, we highlight the different ways in which the approaches can be used to dissect the same issues. Our contributions include pieces on the Trump administration, the professional ecologies of transnational policy elites, the treatment of transboundary political problems, the characteristics of technocratic elites, the racial and gender composition of transnational elites, and professional competition over transnational policy issues.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGlobal Networks
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)217-237
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Published online: 16. August 2020


  • Elites
  • Fields
  • Hegemony
  • Institutional theory
  • Policy networks
  • Transnationalism

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