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Professional Networks in Transnational Governance
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Book description

Who controls how transnational issues are defined and treated? In recent decades professional coordination on a range of issues has been elevated to the transnational level. International organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and firms all make efforts to control these issues. This volume shifts focus away from looking at organizations and zooms in on how professional networks exert control in transnational governance. It contributes to research on professions and expertise, policy entrepreneurship, normative emergence, and change. The book provides a framework for understanding how professionals and organizations interact, and uses it to investigate a range of transnational cases. The volume also deploys a strong emphasis on methodological strategies to reveal who controls transnational issues, including network, sequence, field, and ethnographic approaches. Bringing together scholars from economic sociology, international relations, and organization studies, the book integrates insights from across fields to reveal how professionals obtain and manage control over transnational issues.


‘On transnational issues as diverse as carbon emissions, flu outbreaks, food security, and human rights, networks of skilled professionals coordinate actions and responses across a welter of competing organizations. This widely distributed, lateral form of influence has been largely unexplored until now. Seabrooke and Henriksen assemble a notable cast of contributors to examine how a new regime of governance is orchestrated through professional networks. This impressive volume provides novel insights into how experts shape global issues and create demand for their expertise.'

Walter W. Powell - Stanford University, California

'This exceptional book moves research frontiers. It accomplishes the almost impossible. Never losing its clear-headed view of the big picture, Seabrooke and Henriksen step deep into the weeds of governance theory. They conclude that organizational structures and authority mandates matter less than professional strategies to gain control of issues and shape rules and standards. A broad range of politically novel and methodologically sophisticated case studies make theories of rational institutional design and norm entrepreneurship look quaint in the emerging world of governance. A must read.'

Peter J. Katzenstein - Walter S. Carpenter, Jr Professor of International Studies, Cornell University, New York

'Professional judgement has always mattered in policy making. Yet, as this volume argues and outlines, in transnational governance the professions may matter more in devising rules, benchmarks and standards, or in exercising their technical and epistemic authority via new governance architectures of networks. This is a compelling set of studies that provides a different and more nuanced conceptual vantage point for social scientists concerned with not only how transnational problems are managed, but also with the wider range of professional actors who seek to define and control them. The book is a ‘must-read’ for anyone interested in professional network power.'

Diane Stone - Centenary Research Professor, Institute of Governance and Policy Analysis, University of Canberra, and University of Warwick

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