Resilient governance

Governance refers to the ways in which societies aim to create sustainable answers to their social problems and needs. Core ingredients include politics, policy making, administrative action and organizational strategy. For several reasons, though, the current modes of governance seem to suffer from lack of vigor.  First, societal problems have become extremely complex, since they increasingly arise from a globalised and highly dynamic social context. Contemporary societies seem to have entered a stage of radical change, involving major crises and shocks;  a fundamental transition of which the ‘governability’ is not self-evident. Second, this growing ‘fluidization’ of  social structures and cultural belief systems also affects the governance system itself. Political and administrative capacities destabilize, their legitimacy is weakening, levels of trust are decreasing.

Our research theme is devoted to this twofold puzzle. We aim to explore the characteristics, conditions and life-chances of what we wish to label ‘resilient governance’. That is, a mode of governance possibly capable of fulfilling two requirements at the same time. First of all, its major challenge is to ‘govern for resilience’:  how to create public policies and spheres that foster ‘dynamic social continuity,  rather than disruptive crises, severe conflicts and other forms of social implosion? Next to that, resilient governance must be ‘reflexive’,  in the sense that it makes sure it can adapt to and survive within rapidly changing social contexts.

Contact: Willem Trommel, Professor in Public Policy and Governance.