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polycentric governance of social-ecological systems



We would like to invite you on November 12th at 3:45 PM to our next ILR seminar series talk on with Prof. Andreas Thiel from University of Kassel in Witzenhausen. His talk on polycentric governance of social-ecological systems picks on different aspects of a book he recently edited called “Governing Complexity” – please see the book descripton and Andreas’ bio below.


Prof. Andreas Thiel

Andreas is Chair for International Agricultural Policy and Environmental Governance and heading the corresponding section at the Faculty of Organic Agricultural Sciences, University of Kassel, Germany. Until 2016 he was Post-Doc in Resource Economics and Guest Professor of Environmental Governance at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. He is Affiliated Faculty of the Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis.

Andreas’ research interests concern polycentric governance in Social-ecological Systems, its performance and change. He develops this conceptual lens against the background of research on water, biodiversity, climate change adaptation, and agri-environmental governance at different spatial and jurisdictional scales in Europe and the Middle East and Northern Africa. In this regard, he heads several international research projects. For his research, he uses qualitative and comparative research methods, while his team also works with quantitative  approaches, social-network analysis and Qualitative Comparative Analysis.



Book description – Governing Complexity

There has been a rapid expansion of academic interest and publications on polycentricity. In the contemporary world, nearly all governance situations are polycentric, but people are not necessarily used to thinking this way. Governing Complexity provides an updated explanation of the concept of polycentric governance. The editors provide examples of it in contemporary settings involving complex natural resource systems, as well as a critical evaluation of the utility of the concept. With contributions from leading scholars in the field, this book makes the case that polycentric governance arrangements exist and it is possible for polycentric arrangements to perform well, persist for long periods, and adapt. Whether they actually function well, persist, or adapt depends on multiple factors that are reviewed and discussed, both theoretically and with examples from actual cases.