The International Institute for Innovation in Governance offers a range of workshops, PhD courses and summer schools. All these can be adapted to particular requests and be more or less theoretical or practical. For more information please contact Dr. ir. Raoul Beunen at the Open University, the Netherlands.


Governance theories, making them work for you

Governance is a broad topic that is addressed, analyzed, and understood in various ways. The literature on governance and related issues such as leadership, rule of law, the relation with markets, and the role of informalities, has a long tradition that includes literature as old as Artistoteles and Machiavelli. Governance is elaborated in various disciplines, ranging from public administration, policy sciences, to economics. This course presents an overview of these different disciplines and their perspectives on governance, the most important theories for analyzing governance and their interrelations. Particular attention will be given to the lasts theoretical development in which more and more attention is given to the evolutionary nature of governance.

After the introduction of various governance theories the course will elaborate on the ways in which these theories can be made productive for the research projects of the participants. A significant part of the course will be used for developing new insights about the participants’ research and discussing the ways in which these insights can be translated into scientific publications.

Evolutionary governance theory

Evolutionary Governance Theory (EGT) is a novel theory of governance in which governance is conceptualized as radically evolutionary. This implies that all elements of governance are subject to evolution, that these elements co- evolve, and that many of them are the product of governance itself. The theory puts forward a new framework in which concepts and ideas from various sources such as post-structuralism, discourse theory, social systems theory, and institutional and development economics are embedded.

During this course the overall structure of EGT and its core concepts will be presented and explained. Particular attention will be given to the ways in which this framework can help to enrich and deepen your own research. The course will offer plenty of opportunities to discuss your empirical findings, your theoretical ideas and if you are interested you can also discuss your (draft) papers and to get feedback on the possibilities to refine the analysis and put forward a comprehensive and coherent story. In line with this, advice will be given on the possibilities to get your work published.

Participatory approaches in planning, policy and development

Participation is a concept that is currently prevalent in many disciplines. The same word does not always refer to the same concept. In each discipline, school of thought, and in many cases in individual studies, one can recognize different histories, concepts, assumptions and implications of participation. Participation thus offers a window simultaneously on a web of relations between disciplines, theories and ideologies, and on the powers that drive them apart. Studying the conceptualization and practice of ‘participation’ is useful then for many scientists, and it is a relevant way to bring scientists from different backgrounds together.

This course will introduce the participants to a diversity of concepts and theories of participation and provide insight in controversies, boundaries and bridges in and between the approaches. It elucidates the genealogy of participation in planning, development studies and environmental studies. It will do so against the background of the history of political theory and shifts in the position and understanding of science.

With that, participants are exposed to an extensive and diverse body of knowledge that can help them in the reflection on and fine- tuning of their own work, by contextualizing the participation question at hand and assisting in finding context- sensitive institutional arrangements. Issues that can be re- contextualized in this manner include shifts in governance, shifts in policy rhetoric, globalization/ Europeanization, the science/ policy nexus, sustainability, the roles of science in society, the position of planning, design, environmental and development policies and experts. The course draws upon the classics as well as on current insights and frontier research.

The course links theories and methodologies and intends to cover the several steps in the research cycle, from methodological design and the organization of fieldwork to the analysis of data and publication of the results, and further the issues of implementation.

Power/knowledge in applied science

This course presents a post- structuralist approach to  nalyse power/ knowledge interactions in applied science. It will engage with a variety of theorists that can shed a light on the construction of ‘facts’ in science, the interweaving of power knowledge in this process, and the implications of this interweaving for research application, policy formation and implementation.

The course starts from the Foucaultian idea that power and knowledge are intricately entwined, with power relations necessarily affecting the discursive construction of reality, including the mode of construction we label ‘science’. Conversely, once established as scientific fact, knowledge tends to affect power relations, in science and in the community at large. Application of research, embedding of ‘facts’ in methods, theories, programs, machines, and later policies and institutions, amplifies the influence of scientific findings on power relations. Science can then affect change in society, allow it to adapt to ever changing circumstances and new problems, but at the same time, a knowledge-path chosen makes alternative understandings harder to grasp, and harder to implement.

An understanding of power/ knowledge configurations thus has implications for the perspective one can embrace on innovation and transition in society at large. The position one takes in the power/ knowledge debate, and the level of subtlety in the analyses of power/knowledge one can access, will create a different image of the forms and roles of innovation, its conditions, and of the possibilities and limits of steering, designing and engineering social, economic and political change.

Participants will be encouraged to deploy, test, refine, the conceptual frame in reflecting on their own research, and more broadly, on societal issues they find important. With that goal in mind the course draws on a variety of teaching methods and it offer a variety of empirical situations where these concepts and perspectives can be applied and inquired.

Reflections on planning practices

Spatial planning can in various ways help in coordinating policies and practices affecting the spatial organization. The possibilities for planning and the form it can take, strongly depend on the context in which it deployed. A better understanding of that context and the role of planning within a particular society is useful for delineating and implementing successful planning approaches. This course will familiarize participants with the theories and methodologies useful for analyzing and explaining planning practices and present a number of planning approaches that can be deployed in various contexts. It elaborates on the power/knowledge nexus, the role of plans, laws and other planning institutions and the positions and roles of different actors in the planning processes. The course combines theoretical reflections with real-life examples to show that planning can takes various forms within society and to elaborate on which forms are more likely to be successful in which circumstances. The course enhances participants’ capability of understanding practices and consequently their ability to choose how to plan in a specific situation.

Rural development

The topic of rural development has received attention from a wide range of disciplines and professions. Many books and articles have been written, presenting success stories, critical reflections, and very detailed guidelines on how to realize development.

This course presents these different insights and discusses the most influential perspectives and renders their risks and benefits visible. It puts forward a novel integrative perspective on rural development drawing on Evolutionary Governance Theory. Drawing on the experiences in five different continents, the course will offer the conceptual tools to understand how things are organized now, which development path has already been taken, and how things could possibly move in a different direction.