Jessica Mesman appointed Professor in Complexity and Epistemic Diversity


As of 1 September 2023, Jessica Mesman holds a personal chair in Complexity and Epistemic Diversity at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. The chair has its focus on complexity and ways of navigating it in health care practices and is embedded in the Society Studies Department and the MUSTS research group.

Researchers have been studying complexity for decades with the aim of finding ways to 'tame' complexity. Some stress the illusionary nature of this ambition and strive to 'embrace' complexity and learn to live well with it. In line with this view, this chair focuses on research that facilitates 'navigating' complexity. This chair applies an exnovative approach to healthcare, one of today’s most hypercomplex domains. Exnovation encompasses the idea that mundane and implicit routines offer opportunities to learn about and from successful navigation of complexity in everyday practices.

Learning from these already existing but implicit strength of practices requires an alienation from what is taken for granted. To do so, this chair will use epistemic diversity as analytical strategy. Acknowledging multiple pathways to knowledge makes one to embark on alternative explorations aiming to achieve non-confessional conceptualizations of complexity. Besides visual reframing, this chair will use theoretical frameworks not usually related to research on complexity in healthcare, to encourage loosening ties to one’s own research habitus. Examples of non-prevailing ways of framing complexity in healthcare are non-modern knowledge systems and the production of  nonknowledge. 

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