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Anticipatory governance - Dealing with uncertain futures Passed

Tuesday September 21, 2021 17:00 - 18:30 C

Workshop leaders: Florian Neisser, Thomas Kox
Presenters: Gregory Vigneaux, Peter McGowran, Sandra Pfister, Shibaji Bose, Shilpi Srivastava

  • Preempting the next disaster. The fundamental ambiguity of disaster management, Sandra Pfister
  • Autopoietic Socio-Technical Systems: A new lens for understanding anticipation, Gregory Vigneaux
  • Anticipating futures: preparedness under radical uncertainty in Gujarat, India, Shilpi SrivastavaLyla Mehta, Shibaji Bose, Tom Ainsworth
  • Assemblage Theory & Disaster Risk Management: conceptualising disasters-in-the-making,  Peter McGowran

Panel description

The anticipation of futures plays an increasing role in emergency management. Future Emergencies pose challenges in the handling of uncertainty and non-knowledge. Aspects of future governance or anticipatory governance (Fuerth 2009; Quay 2010; Guston 2013; Muiderman et al. 2020) aim to address these challenges. Imagining and governing the future has become a core challenge for research and practice alike (Muiderman et al. 2020), to seek insights into anticipatory practices, their risks and uses (Boyd et al. 2015). Concerning the decisions in the field of disaster risk and emergency management several practices of anticipation (Anderson 2010) evolved to deal with uncertainty or are imaginable to make the future ascertainable, conceivable, “ready-at-hand” (Neisser, Runkel 2017).

Which perspectives regarding potential events emerge from this and which challenges face decision makers in disaster risk and emergency management? What are the limits of practices of anticipation? Which challenges arise from that and which images of future are (re)produced? These questions are especially interesting in the case of the socio-technical constellations and practices of actors in emergency management and civil protection, i.e. administration, policy making,  firefighting, critical infrastructure protection, spatial planning, weather services etc.

Transdisciplinary approaches to co-production of knowledge and reflections about risk and emergency management play an important role in facing future challenges. We explicitly encourage empirical examples from practice as well as theoretical or conceptual contributions.

We welcome manuscript submissions regarding the following aspects of the broader topic:

  • Policies of anticipatory governance regarding grand challenges of climate change induced hazards
  • Sociotechnical constellations of anticipating future for risk and emergency management,
  • Effects of organisational (re)structuring and organisational learning to face future challenges,
  • Changed concepts of training and exercise, including setups and practices of/in future control rooms,
  • Questions and solutions regarding data, information and knowledge management in dealing with risks and crises,
  • Questions of decisionmaking and the distribution of competencies,
  • Insights from future studies, futurology and foresight.


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Florian Neisser Workshop leader

Fraunhofer INT

Profile image for Thomas Kox

Thomas Kox Workshop leader

LMU Munich

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Gregory Vigneaux Presenter

Design Network for Emergency Management


Gregory Vigneaux is interested in how we experience and manage complexity around incidents. His work is founded on practical experience fighting forest fires around the country with U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service Hotshot Crews, a master’s degree in emergency management, and a continued fascination with how we operate in dynamic environments. He has worked for FEMA, consulted for Save the Children, and co-founded the Adapt Institute.

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Peter McGowran Presenter

King's College London

Profile image for Sandra Pfister

Sandra Pfister Presenter


Shibaji Bose Presenter

Independent Consultant

Shilpi Srivastava Presenter

Institute of Development Studies, UK