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Reflexive Governance for Research and Innovative Knowledge by Marc Maesschalck

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3Exploring Reflexive Governance Theory

The origins of the idea of reflexive operations, with the aim of creating a self-guaranteeing governance process, were explored in the previous chapter. This operation is directly connected to the collective exercise of responsibility by directing institutional change, adapting to complex environments and co-creating innovative solutions. However, the production of collective vigilance within processes of this type has yet to be clearly defined in terms of operativity, i.e. the conditions for implementation and the type of mechanism that is actually involved when speaking of reflexivity.

Two main types of reflexive operation have been put forward. The first consists of extrapolating the form of a general interest from specific situations, and making efforts to prevent certain participants from monopolizing access to the process, thereby excluding other interests, either intentionally or inadvertently. This approach involves anticipating a general form of common interest allowing a shift in existing procedures, submitting them to a form of hierarchical coordination, without restricting their nodular efficiency. The idea is to translate these requirements of openness with regard to the general interest into points for vigilance within the participatory dynamic of the resources in question. This vigilance relates to accessibility and the distribution of power, following a principle of symmetry between different interests. The reflexive element ...

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