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  • Call for Papers

    © Universität Bielefeld

International Conference on "Navigating Uncertainty: Preparing Society for the Future"

June 05 – 07, 2023

Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF), Bielefeld University





Uncertainty has an impact on almost all aspects of human life and the way uncertainty is perceived and treated by different actors (individuals, institutions, policy makers, …) is an important driver of societal and economic change. It can have constructive and destructive effects in different realms of society that have to be navigated.

Various researcher in social sciences and humanities have, over time, developed a variety of theoretical and empirical approaches to study and interpret the impact of uncertainty on (individual) decisions and social phenomena. With this conference, we would like to bring them together in a place of interdisciplinary exchange. The conference ”Navigating Uncertainty: Preparing Society for the Future” will provide a platform for interdisciplinary exchange on the systematic analysis of different ways individuals and institutions deal with uncertainty and of the resulting societal implications. We welcome submissions addressing conceptual issues related to the conference theme as well as applied work studying the implications of (navigating) uncertainty in concrete settings.  Papers can have a theoretical or methodological focus or be based on empirical analysis.



Possible research questions could be but are not limited to:

  • Which kinds of uncertainties in societies can be differentiated? How to measure uncertainty?
  • How does uncertainty effect individual and collective beliefs and actions?
  • How do uncertainties in different areas of life affect each other?
  • How do societal conditions influence the use and the production of uncertainty – and how do these factors change over time?
  • How are uncertainties used in negotiations and strategic communication?
  • In how far does uncertainty accelerate processes of institutionalization as a mode of controlling uncertainty?
  • Should uncertainty be accounted for in policy making and in the communication of policies?
  • How do societies, their institutions and members prepare for uncertainty? What are constructive and destructive regulations of uncertainty?

Organization: The conference will be organized in different panels. We will feature two public keynotes held by Miriam Posner (UCLA) and Carlo Jaeger (Global Climate Forum), and a panel discussion of experts and stakeholders from politics and civil society. Additionally, a Lightning-Talk session with associated Poster session will be organized.

Location: The conference will take place at the renowned Centre for Interdisciplinary Research (ZIF), a centre for advanced studies, in Bielefeld (

Submission: Please submit an abstract of maximum 500 words (written in English) in the submission form below.

Schedule: Extended Submission Deadline: 15.03.2023; Notification of Acceptance: 31.03.2023.

Fees, costs and registration: There is no participation fee, but participants need to register for the conference in advance. We will cover the cost for travel and accommodation for presenters according to the university’s regulations.

Organizing committee: Herbert Dawid, Ulrike Haake, Anna Neubert, Silke Schwandt, Andreas Zick (all Bielefeld University)


Submission Form

The deadline has been reached. Submission is no longer possible.

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