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

  • Bas Denters
  • Kristof Steyvers
  • Pieter-Jan Klok
  • Daniel Cermak
Part of the Governance and Public Management book series (GPM)


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.


Mayoral leadership Network management Local governance Issue networks 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bas Denters
    • 1
  • Kristof Steyvers
    • 2
  • Pieter-Jan Klok
    • 1
  • Daniel Cermak
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences, Department of Public AdministrationUniversity of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Vakgroep Politieke WetenschappenGentBelgium
  3. 3.Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of SciencesPrague 1Czech Republic

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