There are more problems in the world than any political actor can handle. A diversity of state and non-state actors competes for attention in the international arena by framing a problem, selecting an organized set of information that makes the problem intelligible and transforming it into an issue than can be debated and contested. This chapter aims to describe spirals of contentions , from the moment an issue emerges, passing by its institutionalization, to the point in time when it fades away and leaves space in the international arena for newcomers. The spiral metaphor is used to illustrate that the arguing process is transformative and that no issue ends up exactly where it began. Originating as the agent’s construction, an issue can eventually become the same agent’s constraint. The constant possibility for contestation results in cooptation, drift, gradual build up, reversal of an issue and even disputes over whether the problem is an issue at all (March and Olsen 1989). This approach facilitates a study of the iterative contestation and negotiation process, as state and non-state actors compete to identify, defi ne and implement a policy (Krook and True 2010).