Call for abstracts: Governance of wicked problems

Published on
April 20, 2016

Call for abstracts
Intensive research workshop

Governance of wicked problems 

27-28 October 2016, Wageningen, the Netherlands
(Deadline 500 words abstract: 29 May 2016)

This intensive research workshop is organized as part of the 10-year anniversary of the Public Administration and Policy group, Wageningen University. This workshop aims to bring together scholars in the field of public administration, public policy, public governance and related disciplines to advance scholarly debates on the governance of wicked problems. We welcome theoretical, methodological papers, and empirical studies that address some of the pertinent questions related to this topic, such as: 

Critical reflections on wicked problems: Does the notion of wicked problems offer something new to contemporary public governance studies? Are the insights from Rittel and Webber still relevant for today’s complex problems, or is it becoming a buzzword?

Conceptualising wicked problems: How can wickedness be conceptualised and understood in a meaningful way for public governance studies? How can policy address wicked problems be monitored, tracked and evaluated?

Empirical manifestations of wicked problems: Are there differences in how wicked problems are addressed when looking at different domains, states, levels or cultures?

Governance: What are the key characteristics of public and private governance needed to address wicked problems? What kind of hybrid governance arrangements are needed? 

We particularly welcome contributions that provide conceptual and/or methodological innovations in studying wicked problems. Prof. Brian Head (University of Queensland) and prof. Guy Peters (University of Pittsburgh) have been confirmed as discussants. The workshop will be chaired by prof. Katrien Termeer of Wageningen University.  

We aim for approximately 10 papers and participants. This will allow for 1 hour, in-depth discussions and feedback on all of the papers. Interested authors are asked to submit a 500 words abstract by 29 May 2016 as a first step towards full paper development. The abstracts can be send by e-mail to Authors will be notified of acceptance/rejection by 10 June 2016.  

Participants are expected to submit a full first draft of the manuscript by 14 October 2016 to be distributed to all workshop participants. The aim is to publish the contributions to the workshop, subject to normal review process, as a Special Volume in a suitable journal. Accommodation costs (two nights) and conference dinner will be covered by the workshop organizers. 

The workshop will be followed by a symposium for a broader audience on Friday afternoon, during which various renowned public administration scholars and practitioners will reflect on the merit of public administration and studying wicked problems for the life sciences and academia in general. You would be very welcome to attend this symposium.  

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any remaining questions. We hope to be able to see you in October. 

The organizing committee: 
Robbert Biesbroek:
Jeroen Candel:
Art Dewulf: