Call for Papers for a Special Issue of Futures: Wild Cards
Eric Hobsbawm famously described the 20th century as the “age of extremes”. So far this still young 21th century has shown itself to be unstable and turbid and surely seems to deserve the label of “age of volatility”. Shocks and discontinuities have been felt intensively in a number of fields (military, economic, climate, etc.) in a number of places (US, Europe, North Africa, etc.) in the last few years. A few recent well known examples stand out: September 11th, hurricane Katrina, a big tsunami in Thailand, the collapse, volcanic ash clouds over Europe, BP oil spill, the “Arab Spring”, a large earthquake followed by major nuclear accident in Japan, a massive blackout in India, etc.
The present century is still in its beginnings but has proved markedly unstable. As As Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum (2012) point out in That Used to Be Us, “average is over”. It now seems that variance itself varies. Thus, instead of speaking of “the new normal”, as Mohamed El-Erian (2010) did, one should perhaps talk of “the new skewness”. A reflection on issues of dramatic disruptions, biased booms and busts, and violent volatility is timely.
What do we really know about the sources, methods of analysis and outcomes of this sort of radical renewal of human and planetary affairs? Do turning points cluster in time and space or is globalisation leading to a decoupling of their incidence? Are there new sources of instability and turbulence in the contemporary world? Are there new techniques and approaches to predict, interpret and deal with such unpredictable and trend-breaking phenomena? What have we learned regarding mitigation of impacts and strategies for capitalising of new potential for resilience?
In this Special Issue we focus on “wild card”-type of events, that is, a futures studies approach to disruptive surprises and trend-breaking events. More generally, the goal is to build and deliver new foresight knowledge regarding conceptual and empirical perspectives on anticipating, muddling through and accounting for the consequences of major discontinuities. In summary, what do we know in terms of detecting, preparing for, preventing, protecting against, responding to and profiting/recovering from wild cards? We therefore welcome innovative papers as well as reviews from a variety of perspectives (managerial, sociological, economic, philosophical, and historical as well as technical in inclination and foresight in methodology) on this particular foresight topic, understood in a wide sense.
Original research providing new and more complete accounts of wild card phenomena should be submitted. Extreme hazards pose challenges in which multiple risks simultaneously occur, so that a diversity of views is welcomed. The notion of “wild cards” should be critically revisited, conceptually questioned, empirically tested, and analytically refined. New contributions to knowledge are sought in the following areas:
•The theoretical underpinnings: a) Critical considerations on the soundness of epistemological basis of wild cards; b) Reconceptualisations, re-appraisals, and theoretical advancements of the concept of wild cards; c) questioning “wild cards”, i.e. how to distinguish “wild cards” from non-“wild cards”; d) Defining and distinguishing risk and uncertainty, ambiguity and ignorance in face of wild cards;
•Analysis and empirics: a) Assembling evidence that we live through “wild card”-intensive times (is the abnormal really rising?); b) Varieties and categories, intensities and severity, i.e., analytical efforts toward taxonomical efforts on wild cards; c) Wild cards as shift triggers and as correlates of change in abrupt transitions;
•Foresight and anticipation: a) Ex-ante (planning and prevention, imagining and forecasting, sensing and warning) and ex-post (mitigation and absorption, resisting and responding, recovery and reconstruction) wild card strategies; b) On predicting and piercing bubbles; c) What particular early warnings and specific weak signals matter when trying to anticipate wild cards; d) New uses and limitations of structured approaches (Scenario building, Delphi studies, Horizon scanning, Prediction markets, etc.) to wild card recognition;
•The evolution of change: a) From crises to crashes (determining tipping points in the evolution of major changes); b) The incidence of interruptions in the continuities of history;
•Management of wild cards: a) Converging and diverging strategic views on wild cards; b) Disaster education and wild card literacy; c) Rupture in facts and rupture in thought; d) Mainstreaming wild card reduction and strengthening wild card responses; e) The role of wild cards in transitions and the construction of resilient societies;
•Other topics and perspectives: a) Sharp stressors, anxiety and trauma; b) the asymmetric impact of wild cards (vulnerable individuals and groups); c) new methods to detect and defuse wild cards; d) Strategy-making in “wild card”-rich businesses; e) Radical randomness resilient regulation; f) The regulation of radical risk; g) Case studies from the managerial realm and from the public policy area; h) others.
CfP issued: March 2013
Submission: November 30th, 2013
Final Revisions due: February 2014
Final notification: May 2014
Issue published: Late 2014
Note: interested authors are advised to submit abstracts well in advance to final submission. Please submit these to the Guest Editors: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Papers should follow the standard guidelines of Futures and they will be selected competitively according to their intrinsic quality and relevance to the special issue. All papers will be subject to a standard refereeing process. See: http://bit.ly/14T9S0W
Future’s website allows for on-line submission. See guidelines to authors on the journal’s website and the list of common formatting errors. Only original submissions will be considered, not submitted in parallel elsewhere. No pre-submission comments will be given by the guest editors but editorial comments will complement the referees’ reviews.
Submission of articles to Futures journal will open on November 1st 2013 and close on November 30th 2013. Upload the paper for review and also enter additional information at: http://ees.elsevier.com/futures/.
Submit Article / Submit New Manuscript / choose Article Type/ SI:wildcards
Enquiries and provisional abstracts should be sent by email to the Guest Editors
Miguel Pina e Cunha
Nova School of Business and Economics
ISCTE – Lisbon University Institute