Global crises and the challenge of complexity: a critical realist view

Complexity is often invoked to justify the limits of politics in addressing global challenges, as well as the difficulties of the social sciences in accounting for a rapidly evolving social reality. Thinking complexity as an ultimately intractable entity, however, paves the way for many forms of simplification, both in interpreting global processes and in addressing them, with disappointing results at both levels.

Breaking this impasse is urgent, given that the dimensions of interpretation and political action are intertwined as never before, as evidenced by global crises such as climate change or the COVID-19 pandemics.

The seminar will address this crucial junction between complexity, global challenges and social research with the contribution of David Byrne, who has extensively addressed, at all levels (epistemological, theoretical, methodological), the issue of the capacity of the social sciences to confront the growing complexity of the social world, especially as it interfaces with the complexity of the natural world.

The seminar is held on the occasion of the sixth anniversary of the death of Giancarlo Quaranta, founding member of Knowledge and Innovation – School of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Research. The working language is English.
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David S. Byrne is Emeritus Professor in the Department of Sociology at the Durham University (UK). His research interests include complexity theory, postindustrial social structures, privatisation of welfare systems, inequality and, recently, the social impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Framework Agreement among WMO, GWP and K&I

A framework agreement among the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) of the United Nations, the Global Water Partnership (GWP) and K&I was signed in August 2020. Based on this agreement, WMO, GWP and K&I aim to strengthen cooperation (in the frame of the ‘Associated Program on Flood Management – in specific themes of common interest, such as the assessment/analysis of social and environmental risks (with particular regard to the flood cycle); the involvement of community participation/social actors in flood management; capacity building of local actors such as municipalities, CSOs and citizens on the issues just mentioned.K&I researchers have been working on these issues for 30 years, through specific projects carried out in Central America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Europe and more recently,  in collaboration with the WMO, they have drawn up and published some “technical tools”, relating to “Crisis mapping and crowdsourcing”; “Organizing Community Participation for Flood Management”; “Public perception of flood risk and social impact assessment”.  

Consultative Status with the United Nations ECOSOC

During the Substantive session, held in July 2018, the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) granted the Special Consultative Statute to Knowledge and Innovation (K&I) – School of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Research.

Participation in the 2018 “Spring Meetings”

On April 19 in Washington, during the 2018 “Spring meetings”, Gabriele Quinti participated in two seminars organized by the International Monetary Fund respectively on “Women Empowerment” and on “Governance and anti- corruption”.

Seminar on “Inequality and Gender” with the IMF

On March 21, 2018, a seminar on the programmes of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) related to gender inequality took place in Rome at the premises of Knowledge and Innovation (K&I). The presentation was made by Stefania Fabrizio and Marina Mendes Tevares of the IMF Strategy, Policy and Review Department. The meeting was attended by about twenty researchers and experts of K&I and other Italian organisations such as CNR (Italian Nation Research Council) and the Department for Equal Opportunities of the Italian Council of Ministers. Download the document in PDF

Knowledge and Innovation at the IILA 50th Anniversary Celebrations

In 2017, the Italian-Latin American Institute (IILA – celebrated its first 50 years of activity with a number of events that took place in Italy, in Latin America and at the United Nations. In this framework, Andrea Declich and Gabriele Quinti, as K&I researchers, participated in the presentation of the Eurosocial+ Program and attended different initiatives including “Culture and Development – A Latin American perspective”; “Fight against violence against women”; and “Porqué importa América Latina (for Europe)”. Furthermore, on 3 May 2018, K&I took part in the consultation promoted in Italy (at the IILA) by the European Service for External Action (SEAE) aimed at preparing the Communication of the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy concerning the relations between Europe and Latin America.