Conflicts About Intellectual Property Claims: The Role and Function of Collective Action Networks


The outcomes of two recent policy conflicts about two EU directives on intellectual property rights question the assumptions of interest groups research: Why were "weak" actors able to successfully mobilize against one directive but failed in the other case? We argue that, to explain policy influence, the existing literature focuses only on actor characteristics but neglects actor relations and is therefore not able to explain the success of weak actors in certain conflicts. We employ social network analysis to analyze the actor networks of both conflicts and conclude that a broad mobilization in combination with a dense network and the construction of a convincing master frame are conditions for successful campaigning and influence of weak actors. In more abstract terms we can see that in order to be successful weak actors have to built situational coalitions that fulfill the conditions of a collective actor with a recognizable collective identity.