SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Room: 5.4680
Mary-Somerville-Straße 5
28359 Bremen
6:15 p.m.
Contact Person:
Lecture Series:
Method Lectures of the Bridge Professorship
WiSe 2015/16

Dimitris' current research interests are on networks of political and business actors, political and policy entrepreneurship and social entrepreneur motivation. The unifying theme in his work is a focus on exceptional agency and relations as expressed in the networks of leaders and entrepreneurs.

Relations between agents (i.e. networks) act as conduits to their political power. And power is channeled to the attainment of governance outcomes. Traditional social science makes the simplifying assumption that actor preferences (their perceived utility) can be employed to predict their behaviour. By comparison an analysis of networks makes actor interdependence the point of departure to an understanding of their constraints and opportunities. In that respect actors can impact outcomes not only through their own discrete interventions, but also mediated by the pattern of interaction among others.

Governance as the product of political exchange is therefore affected by the quality of the interaction between political agents, what Jones and Robins et al. have termed governance embeddedness. For instance, the degree to which political agents reciprocate relations equitably, whether there is transitivity, and whether relations are predominantly hierarchical. Governance as a process is affected by the pattern of exchange between political actors. For instance, the degree to which there is a strong core-periphery, the multiplicity of clusters, prevalence of brokers or the skewness in the distribution of ties can affect the way politics is exercised and policies are created.

I employ a range of case studies of policy making, policy implementation and cross-border policy in Europe, to demonstrate how governance process and governance outcomes are affected by the networks of political agents. This often happens in ways that can only be comprehended by analyzing the pattern of actor relations. I also use examples that draw from cases of environmental policy and the recent debates on sustainability to hypothesize on the nature of governance resilience. This analysis is coached within the literature of leadership, political entrepreneurship and brokerage or what some have termed exceptional agency.