Political Leadership in Issue Networks: How Mayors Rule Their World?

Bas Denters, Kristof Steyvers, Pieter-Jan Klok, Daniel Cermak

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

8 Citations (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)


In his controversial book If Mayors Ruled the World, US political theorist Benjamin Barber argued that mayors can and do play a major role in solving today’s grand societal challenges in domains like social inclusion and poverty, climate change and sustainability and safety and public order. It is increasingly recognised that meeting such challenges requires concerted action by a multiplicity of actors at different geographical scales and levels of government, and from different sectors (state, market and civil society). Against this backdrop, this chapter analyses the roles of mayors in building governance coalitions, bringing together relevant actors in efforts to meet major challenges facing their communities. What role, if any, do European mayors in different national local government systems play in local governance coalitions? In the chapter, the patterns of interdependence characteristic for various types of issues will be analysed, and we will investigate the role that mayors may or may not play in building coalitions between the various relevant actors. This will serve as the basis for subsequently looking into the success of these mayoral activities. Important issues here are whether the roles of mayors and their chances of being successful vary across different issue domains or across different national local government systems and are different for appointed, indirectly and directly elected mayors.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPolitical Leaders and Changing Local Democracy
Subtitle of host publicationThe European Mayor
EditorsHubert Heinelt, Annick Magnier, Marcello Cabria, Herwig Reynaert
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-67410-0
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-67409-4
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameGovernance and Public Management
ISSN (Print)2524-728X
ISSN (Electronic)2524-7298


  • Issue networks
  • Local governance
  • Mayoral leadership
  • Network management
  • 2023 OA procedure


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