Realist Complexity between Causal and Complex Systems Conference

International Institute of Social Studies
Start date

Wednesday 7 Apr 2021, 00:00

End date

Friday 9 Apr 2021, 00:00

International Institute of Social Studies
Spoken Language

On 7-9 April 2021, the International Institute of Social Studies will host a conference aiming to capture and specify what Critical Realism (CR) can contribute to the literature on complexity.

Although part of the conference is closed, several of the speakers will give public presentations.

About the conference

Against the background of previous attempts that have subsequently coalesced the two under the rubric of ‘Complex Realism’, the primary objective here takes stock of the various analytical shortcomings of ‘Complex Realism’ and aims instead to understand how CR scholars analytically treat complexity.

In so doing, it asks three central questions:

  1. What is ‘Realist Complexity’?
  2. Is this ‘Realist Complexity’ complex?
  3. What is the difference between complexity and some things being complex?


The organizers aim to receive contributions dealing with these questions in relation to the following themes:

  • Ontology and epistemology
  • Causality (Critical Realist and other perspectives)
  • Systems (open and/or closed)
  • Any combination of the themes listed above


Among the contributors to this conference are: Bob Jessop, Karim Kniou, Colin Wight, Alan Norrie, Yi Yang, Stephen Mumford, Sheree Bekker, Rani Lill Anjum, Elena Rocca, Tony Lawson (tbc), Douglas Porpora, and Philip Gorski.

Registration to public lectures

Email address

For registrations to attend the public lectures offered by a selection of the contributors during the conference, please contact Dr Karim Knio.