The Summer School is now in its tenth year and has previously been held at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, the University of Konstanz, and Venice International University.
The idea for the Summer School was born in Konstanz and was an initiative of Volker Schneider and Patrick Kenis. While working at different places (Max-Planck Institute, Cologne, respectively European Centre, Vienna), we co-authored a chapter entitled "Policy Networks and Policy Analysis: Scrutinizing a New Analytical Toolbox"(1). After some years we were both working for the same Department at the University of Konstanz. Much of what was stated in the original chapter still seemed to be valid: networks seemed become more and more important in politics, policy, and organizations.
Despite the growing actual influence, the use of network analysis tools was still rather uncommon and they were rarely discussed in depth in classic methodological curriculum. Therefore, we decided to start a summer school for scholars working in the fields of policy, organization, and management offering hands-on insights to network analysis.
In Ulrik Brandes and Dorothea Wagner – both from the Department of Computer Science at the University of Konstanz – we found valuable partners. They add technical and mathematical expertise to POLNET. Our co-operation started out with a common article: “Explorations into the Visualization of Policy Networks"(2). This led on to the development of a new computer programme for the analysis and visualization of social networks called visone.
We are proud of the good reputation and prestige POLNET has gained over the years as well as the research we were able to inspire. To celebrate our 10th year we invite its alumni to join us for a symposium presenting their research on Networks in Political and Organizational Life.
For the future, we hope to further stimulate many scholars to participate in the POLNET summer school to spread the knowledge about and the application of network theories and tools.
(1) published in B. Marin & R. Mayntz (eds), Policy Networks: Empirical Evidence and Theoretical Considerations, Campus/Westview (Frankfurt am Main/New York) (1991).
(2) Ulrik Brandes, Patrick Kenis, Joerg Raab, Volker Schneider and Dorothea Wagner in: Journal of Theoretical Politics 11(1):75-106, 1999.