1st Edition

Governing Complexity in the 21st Century

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after October 22, 2021
ISBN 9780367276270
October 22, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
240 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations

USD $44.95

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Book Description

Governing Complexity in the 21st Century surveys the ways in which social systems are becoming more complex. It shows how this complexity impacts every aspect of life for individuals, governments and societies in most social systems at individual, regional, national and global scales and explores how embracing ‘complexity thinking’ can greatly improve the art of governance in all policy areas.

The book clearly explains the ideas and methods of complexity science – widely accepted in both the natural and social sciences – then demonstrates how ‘complexity thinking’ can be applied to improve our understanding of governance and policy actions. Providing a deep analysis of many governance challenges, including economic development and technological innovation, environment management, climate change, and development in the Middle East, the book also compares national responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Clear and jargon-free, this book is accessible to undergraduates and scholars alike. It is essential reading for policymakers everywhere, showcasing methods for governing effectively and efficiently in our increasingly complex world. It brings together the broad range of social and environmental science fields and will be useful for those studying or working in policy, politics and international relations, environmental issues, business management, philosophy, history and sociology.

Table of Contents

Introduction: From Simplicity to Complexity

1. From Order to Complexity: The Natural and Social Sciences

2. From Order to Complexity in Policy and Governance

3. Challenges to Complexity, Pragmatism and the Case of Brexit

4. History, Complexity and Governance

5. Health, Complexity and Governance: The Case of the COVID-19 Pandemic

6. Governance in Development: The Case of (MENA) Middle East and North Africa

7. Governing Economy

8. Governing Earth: The Importance of the Local

9. Governing Global Politics


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Neil E. Harrison holds a PhD from the University of Denver and is the Executive Director of The Sustainable Development Institute since 2000. His most recent work is with John Mikler Capitalism for All (forthcoming) and the edited volume Climate Innovation (2014).

Robert Geyer is a Professor in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion at Lancaster University (UK). His more recent works include: (edited with Paul Cairney) Handbook on Complexity and Public Policy (2015); (co-authored with Samir Rihani) Complexity and Public Policy (2010).