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The way in which issue-areas are interconnected is an important factor in explaining political outcomes at the global level. However, the existing literature on interconnections is inadequate for understanding the role that they play in world politics. This paper sets out a new conceptual framework for understanding interconnections based on a structure-agency approach. It develops two main concepts: embeddedness and linkages, and explores the relationship between the two. It suggests that the embeddedness of issue-areas can be understood through the lens of four principal concepts: regimes, organisations, ideas, and identity. It argues that the ways in which an issue-area is embedded in turn enable and constrain the possibilities for actors to use issue-linkage within bargaining. It suggests that because the way in which issue-areas are embedded may differentially empower different actors, embeddedness can confer a form of institutional or structural power that may either reinforce or offset other forms of relational power in negotiations between actors.

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Working paper


Refugee Studies Centre

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