Workshop Complex Systems for Global Governance

10th WIRE (Workshop on International Relations)

  • June 30th - July 1st, 2016
  • Brussels, Belgium




IR theorists have been looking at complexity at least since the late 1990s. However, it has yet to be as institutionalized as in the mathematics, engineering, economic, natural and health sciences. The current search for new models of international governance, away from a centralized perspective forces us to take a harder look both at the promises and at the limitations of decentralized governance models based on complex system theory. In this context, questions pertain mainly to its theoretical usefulness and operationalization. Papers are sought that apply complex systems theory to the study of international affairs while addressing some of the questions above. The need is not for more papers on the potential usefulness of this approach. Rather, it is to see how it has been or can be applied in practice and what difference it makes.


Thursday 30th June

9:00 – 09:30 Coffee
09:30 – 10:00 Welcome and introduction
10:00 – 11:00 World Politics as Process: Toward a Complexity Theory of International Relations, by Neil E. Harrison
Discussant: Jean-Frédéric Morin
11:00 – 11:15 Break
11:15 – 12:15 The Governance of Emergence, by David Chandler
Discussant: Christian Olsson
12:15 – 1:00 Lunch
1:00 – 2:00 International Policy Making under Conditions of Complexity, by Stephen C. Hobden
Discussant: Thijs Van de Graaf
2:00 – 3:00 Governance Architectures as Complex Systems, by Philipp Pattberg
Discussant: Krystel Wanneau
3:00 – 3:30 Break
3:30 – 4:30 Fractal Governance of the Biodiversity Regime Complex, by Philippe Le Prestre
Discussant: Peter Haas
4:30 – 5:30 Environmental Regulatory Innovations in the Complex Trade System, by Jean-Frédéric Morin, James Hallway and Joost Pauwelyn (TBC)
Discussant: Pauline Pirlot
7:00 Diner

Friday 1st July

9:30 – 10:30 Complexity Theory and IR Theory, by Peter Haas
Discussant: Sebastian Oberthür
10:30 – 11:00 Break
11:00 - 12:00 Complexity Theory and IO Interaction: Operationalising the ‘complex’ in regime complexity, by Malte Brosig
Discussant: Claire Godet
12:00 – 1:00 Complexity, Pragmatism and International Relations, by Robert Geyer
Discussant: Neil E. Harrisson
1:00 Lunch
2:00 – 3:00 Wrap-up session