This dissertation argues the burgeoning scholarship on wicked problems is both highly compelling and applicable to many of the public problems we confront. It is compelling because it articulates strategies for realizing a more comprehensive understanding of many of the problems we face today as a public; it is highly applicable because it provides us with a fruitful means of addressing these problems. The scholarship – as it stands in 2014 however – needs to be broadened and deepened, especially given how many dangerous wicked problems we face. The wicked problems field can be deepened by reviewing and consolidating its recommendations and through this work delving more deeply into a methodology that best supports collaboratively meliorating such problems. For instance, the various processes most recommended for tackling these problems – processes like bottom-up participation, to transdisciplinarity, to situational and experiential learning – not only descend from the Pragmatic Method, but could also currently prosper from a more systematic engagement with Pragmatism, especially as conceptualized through a feminist lens where problems of power are systematically addressed. In the end, I argue effective responses to wicked problems require context-sensitive, dialogue-driven, action-based engagement models. Through a series of case studies the value of the recommendations within becomes apparent, suggesting there is a need to reimagine both the role of expertise and the boundary spaces between our institutions (as well as the structure of our institutions themselves). The potential for our collective future is quite exciting: potential to prepare future world citizens for engaging one another across their differences as well as the potential to encourage the re-envisioning of our institutions (and the creation of new) so they are more intentionally aimed at bridging our current, isolating gaps and thus fostering collective creativity and ingenuity.

Included in

Philosophy Commons