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New Research on Issue Selection in Global Policy Networks

April 30, 2014

At long last, the journal article version* of the research my team conducted on the human security network is published (complete with color-coded tag clouds and network graphs)! International Organization has very kindly agreed to temporary un-gate the article until May 30, so check out the TUG.pdf here!

tag cloudMy co-authors Sirin Duygulu, Alexander Montgomery, Anna Rapp and I analyze focus group data to explore how elites in global policy networks make judgments on which issues are worthy of their organizations’ attention.

We find practitioners pay lip-service to a confluence of factors corresponding in predictable ways to various streams in the scholarly literature, but we also find that factors within the network are especially important:

Through a series of focus groups with human security practitioners, we examined how powerful organizations at the center of advocacy networks select issues for attention. Participants emphasized five sets of factors: entrepreneur attributes, adopter attributes, the broader political context, issue attributes, and intranetwork relations. However, the last two were much more consistently invoked by practitioners in their evaluations of specific candidate issues. Scholars of global agenda setting should pay particular attention to how intranetwork relations structure gatekeeper preferences within transnational advocacy spaces because these help constitute perceptions of issues’ and actors’ attributes in networks.

*White paper version here. Book version with longer discussion of network theory, exciting illustrative case studies and many more color graphs is out from Cornell in June.

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Charli Carpenter is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She is the author of 'Innocent Women and Children': Gender, Norms and the Protection of Civilians (Ashgate, 2006), Forgetting Children Born of War: Setting the Human Rights
Agenda in Bosnia and Beyond (Columbia, 2010), and ‘Lost’ Causes: Agenda-Setting in Global Issue Networks and the Shaping of Human Security (Cornell, 2014). Her main research interests include national security ethics, the protection of civilians, the laws of war, global agenda-setting, gender and political violence, humanitarian affairs, the role of information technology in human security, and the gap between intentions and outcomes among advocates of human security.