Analysing Networks

  • Jenny M. Lewis
  • Sevasti Chatzopoulou
Part of the Palgrave Studies in European Union Politics book series (PSEUP)


The EU brings to mind the network as a metaphor: there are many actors involved, there are numerous relationships of different types between them, and they have boundaries which are sometimes easy and sometimes difficult to discern. It seems obvious then that there might be some good reasons for applying network theories and methods to studies of the EU. Networks are important in understanding the policy-making process and outcomes and their impact on policy stability and/or change (Blanco et al., 2011). Networks also link social and cultural groups together. However, the ubiquitous use of the term ‘network’, to refer to everything from the technology that links computers together, to friendship and work-based relationships, to policy and governance structures, has placed the concept in danger of meaning everything and nothing. It is therefore important to begin this chapter by exploring the different applications of the term: despite its metaphorical appeal, not everything is a network, nor should be considered as such, in EU studies. Following this, we consider why one might want to analyse networks, describe some of the analytical tools available to do so, and then explore some of the particularities of network analysis as applied to the EU, a multilevel governance system. This is followed by two examples of network analyses on EU agricultural policy. The chapter concludes with some remarks on the benefits and drawbacks of this research method for EU studies.


Social Network Analysis Common Agricultural Policy Policy Sector European Parliament Policy Network 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Jenny M. Lewis and Sevasti Chatzopoulou 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jenny M. Lewis
  • Sevasti Chatzopoulou

There are no affiliations available

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