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Individual Paper: Adaptive Governance in Complexity

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A shared insight by the Degrowth movement and various strands of sustainability science and complexity theory is that fundamental changes are required as humanity comes to realize that we are inhabiting no longer an “empty world” but a “full and globalized world”.

In the MAGIC research project, coordinated by Prof. Mario Giampietro at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and funded by the EU through the Horizon 2020 programme, we study the fundamental changes required to move from piece-meal governance of various sectors of society, to governance of complex socio-ecological interrelationships, further to the realization of governance IN rather than OF complexity. To live in a full and globalized world also means that "we", however "we" is defined, are part of the complex system, and that governance is something that takes place from within the system. This insight also has implications for how to envision the required future relationship between science and public decision-making, and more generally knowledge and action. There is no privileged view from nowhere that is independent from all values and uncertainties.

In MAGIC, we study how EU policies targeting various parts of the water-energy-food nexus interact, come into tension and conflict, and how such tensions may be resolved. Central to MAGIC is the method of Multi-Scale Integrated Analysis of Societal and Ecosystem Metabolism as well as the theory of post-normal science and its implications for the science-society interface. With this methodological point of departure, we study the feasibility, viability and desirability of the various policy narratives, and thereby also the institutional constraints that impede (or enable) transitions to adaptive governance in complexity.

In this paper, we will explain the methodological framework of MAGIC and illustrate it with a simplex example, namely EU circular economy policies. From the shortcomings of these policies, we may reflect and discuss if it is at all possible to imagine a future of the EU in which its institutions could enable the necessary transition out of unsustainable growth and into sustainable modes of civilization.


Day: 2018-08-24
Start time: 11:00
Duration: 00:15
Room: Moriskan (Stora Salongen)
Track: The Future of the European Union



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