World politics as a complex system: Analyzing governance complexity with network approaches

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


This chapter describes with the challenge of analyzing complexity in world politics, in particular, with appropriate methods to do so. Complexity theory is concerned with phenomena that arise from and are visible in complex systems. The chapter outlines the state of the art with regard to conceptualizations of governance complexity. It also outlines with the challenge of analyzing complexity in global governance and suggested applying a network approach to studying regime complexes, fragmented governance architectures and increased interactions across policy domains. The chapter suggests that network analysis can help unravel complexities in world politics at three levels: the system level, the cluster level, and the individual level. Modeling networks, however, presents an important challenge for analysts. Modeling networks at the level of regime complexes requires a substantial amount and quality of data which has been largely unavailable to researchers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGlobal Networks and European Actors
Subtitle of host publicationNavigating and Managing Complexity
EditorsGeorge Christou, Jacob Hasselbalch
Place of PublicationAbington
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781003153382, 9781000393057, 9781000393019
ISBN (Print)9780367720827, 9780367720803
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

Publication series

NameGlobalization, Europe, Multilateralism Series


  • complexity
  • forest governance
  • Europe


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