“No time for nonsense!”: The organization of learning and its limits in evolving governance

Kristof Van Assche*, Raoul Beunen, Stefan Verweij, Joshua Evans, Monica Gruezmacher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialAcademicpeer-review


This essay introduces and frames the contributions to the special issue on learning and co-evolution in governance. It develops the argument that learning, dark learning and non-learning are necessarily entwined in governance, moreover, entwined in a pattern unique to each governance configuration and path. What can be learned collectively for the common good, what kind of knowledge and learning can be strategically used and shamelessly abused, and which forms of knowledge remain invisible, intentionally and unintentionally, emerges in a history of co-evolution of actors and institutions, power and knowledge, in governance. Learning becomes possible in a particular form of management of observation, of transparency and opacity, where contingency is precariously mastered by governance systems expected to provide certainty for communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1211-1225
Number of pages15
JournalAdministration and Society
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • contingency
  • dark learning
  • Governance
  • learning
  • non-learning
  • observation


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