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Introduction: Global Knowledge and Advocacy Networks

‘Introduction: Global Knowledge and Advocacy Networks’, Global Networks, 2(1) 2002: 1-11.



As global and regional networks proliferate, one important aspect of their operations has been the exchange of knowledge, information and expertise. 'Global knowledge networks' have become important components of the global political economy. Within these networks key knowledge institutions and actors can be development agencies, foundations, think-tanks, universities, consultancy firms as well as individual experts and academics. A primary mechanism for the spread of their knowledge has been through global and regional networks. The article evaluates first, concepts of networks, especially the epistemic community and transnational issue network frameworks; second, theories about international diffusion of ideas; and third, some of the literature on the links between ideas and politics. Control over knowledge and information is important to policy making. Additionally, the status and prestige associated with scholarly expertise and professional training is politically empowering for individual experts consulted or co-opted into policy making. Yet, norms and values cannot be divorced from 'scientific advice' especially when knowledge gains greater impact through advocacy and alliance with societal forces.