Transnational Expert-, Consulting- and Lobby/Advocacy-Networks and the Role of Think Tanks
Strong growth of policy related research institutes since the 1990s and growing, increasingly transnational networking of experts and think tanks provide key reasons for the research project. Which constituencies (in analogy to membership logics in associations) determine these policy institutes and what are the (institutional) logics of influence that leave a strong mark on processes and evolving structures of the transnational think tank networks? Do we experience a new pluralism or do we confront new hierarchies? The contemporary discussion of “post-democratic” circumstances focused on the national polity suggesting less opportunities of democratic participation through traditional political actors (political parties, associations) and institutions (national parliaments). Comparatively little attention has been paid to new types of political actors operating in the limited democratic spaces of the nation state, but also within the expanded realm of postnational democracy in Europe. Apart from an examination of the varieties of participation across borders by a specific combination of firstly experts, secondly consulting and mediating capacities, and thirdly advocacy or lobby groups the research is focused on key questions and impulses of governing in the 21st century: How are impulses generated with regard to the demands of sustainable (social and ecological) development and economic regulation (e.g. of the globalized financial markets or fiscal policy after the global crisis)? What are the preconditions for successful intellectual, political and institutional entrepreneurship in contemporary societies? The project will reconstruct and compare different networks of organizations and individuals in order to answer these questions including successful ecological and market liberal think tank clusters.