DMDU 2019 Special Session

06 November 2019
Pre-analytical choices
UiB team

Presentations by Silvio Funtowicz, Zora Kovacic, Roger Strand and Dominique Chu during the MAGIC special session 'Moving Towards Adaptive Governance for Sustainability under Conditions of Complexity and Deep Uncertainty' at the 2019 meeting of the Society for Decision Making Under Deep Uncertainty (DMDU 2019), 6 November 2019, TU Delft Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management, the Netherlands.


Session Description:

This special session is inspired in Antonio Gramsci’s reflections: "The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.” The European Union, together with other regions of the world, is currently experiencing a series of economic, ecological, scientific and political crises. Drawing on decades of research in complexity theory and post-normal science, including the ongoing EU Horizon 2020 project “Moving towards Adaptive Governance in Complexity: Informing Nexus Security” (MAGIC), we argue that the crises are strongly intertwined. Furthermore, we argue that the crises are deeply connected to a model of governance that fails to appreciate the complexity of socio-ecological systems and the deep uncertainty that results from this complexity.
There are many useful typologies of uncertainty and complexity. In this session, we shall emphasize the importance of pre-analytical choices on the framing of policy or governance issues – so-called policy narratives – on the definition of the system to be modelled. While such pre-analytical choices are clearly normative, they have profound implications for the science to inform policy and governance. We shall outline our considerations on how to move towards more adaptive forms of governance that deal with such normative choices in a politically and scientifically robust way. A possibly controversial aspect of such considerations is that they appear to have implications not only for scientific methodology but also societal choices such as the choice of policy for economic development. Indeed, it seems that a careful consideration of conditions of complexity and deep uncertainty points towards fundamental tensions between the goal of sustainability and the goal of perpetual economic growth.

Conveners: Zora Kovacic – University of Bergen (Norway), Silvio Funtowicz - University of Bergen (Norway), Roger Strand - University of Bergen (Norway), Dominique Chu – University of Kent (UK)

Format: Panel Discussion


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