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H. George Frederickson and Jack W. Meek

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Christopher Koliba, Lasse Gerrits, Mary Lee Rhodes and Jack W. Meek

The recognition that wicked problems persist across and are to be resolved within poly-centric governance arrangements, and that policies are a deeply contingent phenomenon, serves as the foundation for contemporary applications of complexity science and theory to the study of governance. This chapter traces important foundations that contribute to our understanding of complexity, network and systems theories and methodologies in addressing wicked and persistent problems. In the process, we emphasize important tasks of integrating complexity theory and methods with governance research, a focus on system levels of governance, and the development of complexity-friendly methods in this developing field of research. The implications for harnessing complexity for good governance are drawn.