GIGA Focus International Edition English

Think Tanks: Their Development, Global Diversity and Roles in International Affairs

GIGA Focus | International Edition English | Nummer 06 |

The London-based Royal United Services Institute, one of the oldest continuously existing think tanks in the world, is celebrating the 180th anniversary of its founding this year. Other British and American think tanks with a focus on international affairs have been popping up for the past hundred years or so and have strong global reputations.

Analysis
Think tanks have not remained a British or American phenomenon. Rather, thousands of think tanks have been founded in many other parts of the world. Still, the term "think tank" has remained ambiguous, reflecting the substantial diversity of think tanks' functions and forms.

  • While many definitions of think tanks emphasize the public policy focus of such organizations, the particular roles that think tanks actually play – either individually or as a group within a given context – need to be determined empirically. The same holds true for the supposedly positive role think tanks play in civil society.

  • The substantial diversity of think tanks around the globe reflects external parameters such as the general character and dynamics of the political regimes as well as the institutional specifics of the political systems under which think tanks operate, the particular "demand" for their services in different contexts, the availability of funding, the importance of other “suppliers” of policy-relevant knowledge, as well as the initiative and leadership of individual think tank-based policy entrepreneurs.

  • Think tanks can play a multitude of roles in international affairs – for example, they can provide opportunities for interactions and discussions among professionals within and across national borders; raise awareness and help set relevant agendas; inform and defend the foreign policies of individual states; engage in informal diplomacy; and nurture next-generation scholars and practitioners of international affairs.

GIGA-Forschung zum Thema

GIGA Focus Tabs

Vorgeschlagene Zitierweise

Köllner, Patrick (2011), Think Tanks: Their Development, Global Diversity and Roles in International Affairs, GIGA Focus International Edition English, 06, urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-309664

Impressum

Creative Commons

Open Access

Der GIGA Focus ist eine Open-Access-Publikation. Sie kann kostenfrei im Internet gelesen und heruntergeladen werden unter www.giga-hamburg.de/giga-focus und darf gemäß den Bedingungen der Creative-Commons-Lizenz Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 frei vervielfältigt, verbreitet und öffentlich zugänglich gemacht werden. Dies umfasst insbesondere: korrekte Angabe der Erstveröffentlichung als GIGA Focus, keine Bearbeitung oder Kürzung.

Das German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA) – Leibniz-Institut für Globale und Regionale Studien in Hamburg gibt Focus-Reihen zu Afrika, Asien, Lateinamerika, Nahost und zu globalen Fragen heraus. Der GIGA Focus wird vom GIGA redaktionell gestaltet. Die vertretenen Auffassungen stellen die der Autorinnen und Autoren und nicht unbedingt die des Instituts dar. Die Verfassenden sind für den Inhalt ihrer Beiträge verantwortlich. Irrtümer und Auslassungen bleiben vorbehalten. Das GIGA und die Autorinnen und Autoren haften nicht für Richtigkeit und Vollständigkeit oder für Konsequenzen, die sich aus der Nutzung der bereitgestellten Informationen ergeben.

Gesamtredaktion GIGA Focus: Prof. Dr. Sabine Kurtenbach

Prof. Dr. Patrick Köllner

Vizepräsident
Direktor des GIGA Instituts für Asien-Studien

Prof. Dr. Patrick Köllner ist Vizepräsident des German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA), Direktor des GIGA Instituts für Asien-Studien und Professor für Politikwissenschaft an der Universität Hamburg. Sein aktuelles Forschungsinteresse gilt vor allem Think Tanks in Asien, australischer und neuseeländischer Politik gegenüber China sowie vergleichenden Regionalstudien.

Aktuelle Publikationen der AutorInnen

Patrick Köllner

Australia’s and New Zealand’s South Pacific Diplomacy: Seeking to Balance China’s Regional Engagement

in: Robert G. Patman / Patrick Köllner / Balazs Kiglics (eds.), Diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific/Indo-Pacific: Ideas, Interests, Institutions, Issues, Singapore: Palgrave MacMillan, forthcoming

Raphaëlle Khan / Patrick Köllner

The Rise of New-Generation Foreign Policy Think Tanks in India: Causes, Contours, and Roles

in: Robert Patman / Patrick Köllner / Balazs Kiglics (eds.), Diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific/Indo-Pacific: Ideas, Interests, Institutions, Issues, Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming

Robert Patman / Patrick Köllner / Balazs Kiglics (eds.)

Asia-Pacific Diplomacy in Transition: Ideas, Issues and Institutions

Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming

Marco Bünte / Patrick Köllner / Richard Roewer

Taking Stock of Myanmar's Political Transformation since 2011

Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, 38, 2020, 3, 249-264