GKA SOCIAL 2021 VIRTUAL | JUNE 2-4, 2021

9th International Conference on Social Sciences in collaboration with Sinnergiak Social Innovation (UPV-EHU)

Highlighted Theme
Scientific Coordination
Keynote Speakers
Conference Proceedings
Virtual Platform

Highlighted Theme

Open and collaborative governance

With the start of the new century, societies have begun to feel the immediate and daily pressure of change. There are social, economic and technological changes that reveal the inability of governments to solve the problems of contemporary societies by themselves, as they require more interactive and plural decision-making.

In this setting, the concept of Governance emerges emphatically as an alternative for a new style of governing. Governance constitutes a new process for running society (Koiman, 1993, Modern Governance: New Government-Society Interactions) in which relationships between Government, Private Sector and Citizens are horizontal.

The United Nations Development Programme defines Governance as “the complex mechanisms, processes, relationships and institutions through which citizens and groups articulate their interests, exercise their rights and obligations and mediate their differences” (Reconceptualising Governance, 1997, p. 9).

This new form of “government” gives rise to interdependencies between political and social actors and to modes of cooperation to achieve greater effectiveness in responding to social, economic and political challenges, thus moving away from the characteristic rigidity of the traditional hierarchical model.

In essence, multilateralism appears as a feature linked to modern governance, where cooperative and networked management and the interaction between public and private sectors and society as a whole are fundamental for administering public affairs of common interest.

Therefore, governance of public affairs means incorporating into government actions processes that are efficient, effective and responsible, as well as processes related to inclusion, democratization, participation, accessibility and transparency.

The contemporary concept of governance encompasses the following two premises:

  • Governance as a substantive element is, in essence, open and collaborative.
  • Governance can be qualified by various adjectives that give it meaning. Thus, we may speak of innovation governance, global governance and digital governance, among many other forms.

The “GKA SOCIAL 2021 Conference – 9th International Conference on Social Sciences” is conceived as a meeting space for debate between experts in the subject matter, researchers and civil society on theoretical and practical aspects of, and challenges associated with, open and collaborative Governance from a chiefly normative standpoint, but also approaching the concept through the analysis and discussion of the processes involved in its adjectivization.

The concept of governance started to appear on the international scene in the 1970s, linked to the implementation of strategic forms of government. Its first use in practice in Europe took place in 2001, when the European Commission adopted the White Paper on European Governance. Since then, the issue of governance has been very present in the political and academic spheres of the European Union, where its meaning has been determined along the dimensions of transparency, participation, accountability and effectiveness, innovation, fairness, ethics and sustainability.

The notion of governance points to new ways of exercising government, and it experiments and unfolds beyond the traditional mechanisms of public management. It is through these new spaces and mechanisms for participation that innovation finds a renewed importance as an effective tool to search for solutions to public problems.

In this context, the aim of the Governance and Innovation panel is to bring together prominent scientists, academics, researchers and specialists to exchange their experiences and research findings regarding all aspects of governance and innovation. The panel is also open to other professionals in the scope of governance and innovation who wish to present the more recent innovations, trends and concerns, as well as the practical problems they have encountered and the solutions adopted in the domains of governance and innovation.

Subtopics Panel 1:

  • Governance: goal or strategy?
  • Network governance, metagovernance, collaborative governance, multilevel governance.
  • Guiding principles of open and collaborative governance: ethics, transparency, accountability, etc.
  • Relational administration and Governance.
  • Key factors for moving toward an innovative and advanced model of intelligent Governance.
  • Innovation ecosystem in the public sector.
  • Social innovation, technological innovation and organizational innovation in the context of governance.
  • Public policy test labs.
Over the past few decades, we have witnessed a veritable revolution from the traditional way of looking at public management. Governments and public administrations, at all levels, promote actions intended to transform their structures, processes and/or ways of doing and acting, in an attempt bring about a public management with, by and for the people which contributes to reinforcing the legitimacy of public action through the restoration of its democratic essence. This process of democratization of public management needs to be undertaken as a multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary endeavour.

Public governance is related to the broader governance ecosystem of a society. It is the examination of the function of the institutions, the citizens, civil society, the norms and the processes that influence the establishment of priorities and the provision of services in society.

This panel invites experts from academia and the industry who wish to disseminate their results or the impact of case studies, research projects or successful experimental public governance projects.

The panel welcomes innovative contributions in the form of novel approaches, case studies or visionary works of theory which go beyond the traditional limits of public administration and illustrate the potential of the new public governance.

Subtopics Panel 2:

  • Leadership of the public sector for spatial development.
  • Intra-organizational governance aiming for the efficiency and effectiveness of Public Administration.
  • Bringing together research and practice in governance and policy-making.
  • Strategies and resources to generate Confidence and institutional legitimacy.
  • Channels to actively listen to society.
  • Improving user experience: the 4 co-s of public management: co-design, co-planning, co-execution and co-evaluation of public policies.
  • Strategies and mechanisms to evaluate public governance.
  • Democratic quality in the arenas of deliberation.
Governance is a new form of relationship between different actors (government, the private sector, civil society organizations, the academic sector and citizens) in the process of public policy-making, in order to achieve public goals. In contemporary society, Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) have gained strength as drivers of creativity and of social, environmental and economic development. The establishment of the term governance in the science and technology spheres has been influenced by the policies adopted within the European Union.

The opportunities and strengths created by STI motivate reflecting on the value of science for society and its relationship with public policy. Within this framework, the panel proposes to explore of a variety of themes that shed light on the challenges governance faces in Science, Technology and Innovation systems taken as mechanisms to generate wealth, development, cohesion and economic and social fairness.

Subtopics Panel 3:

  • Contribution and value of STI and its governance for inclusive development.
  • STI Governance Systems and Architecture.
  • Citizen Participation in STI Governance.
  • Public-Private Cooperation in STI Governance.
  • Open Science.
  • Democratization of Science.
  • Science, Technology, Innovation and Ethics.
  • Evaluation of Science, Technology and Innovation.
  • Regional STI Governance models.
  • Science, Technology and Innovation and Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Social value of STI.
  • STI Governance Challenges.
The major global challenges related to International Security, the threat of climate change, the phenomenon of migration or the uncertainties in the global economy are not being given an adequate response by the institutions of the global governance system, which is very detached from the reality of the 21st century world and the new distribution of power. There is a widespread feeling in society that the raison d’être of the international governance system has entered a structural crisis.

The process of weakening of the international governance system was manifested at 3 moments: the fall of the Berlin wall, the 9/11 attacks in 2001 and the recent economic and financial crisis of 2007. In this state of affairs, the global governance system appears as a superstructure that is incapable of offering solutions to the current problems, concerned with the power of the elites and lacking communication channels to listen to society’s demands. The need to build a new and responsible world governance capable of adapting the political organization of society to globalization is ever more pressing.

In this context, it is necessary to reflect on the future of international governance. For this purpose, this panel proposes to reflect, through both conceptual and practical approaches, from a variety of viewpoints, on the transformation processes of the international governance system that are needed to deal with the complexity and uncertainty that characterize the challenges today’s societies face.

Subtopics Panel 4:

  • Toward a global governance system. Principles, legal structures and goals.
  • Regional visions of global governance.
  • Proposals for a new global governance. Reform of international institutions.
  • Thematic areas of global governance: environment, climate change, ocean management, governance of the economy, political and institutional governance, etc.
  • Governance of peace, security and conflict resolution.
  • Governance in the European Union.
  • Governance and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Democracy, the exercise of citizenship and governance.
  • Relationships between the local and global scales of governance.
  • The role of sub-national entities (at the local and municipal level) in local governance.
Adaptation to the digital revolution has rapidly become one of the major challenges institutions and societies face. In the age of Big Data and dispersed political power, it is necessary to reconceptualize society’s forms of government, taking advantage of the opportunities that new technologies afford.

Governments are leveraging these opportunities that the use of new technologies, Big Data and social networks offers to change how they govern and foster a closer relationship with the citizens.

From this point of view, digital governance is more than technological change; success in adapting governance to the 21st century will depend on understanding the disruptive quality of digital transformation and on introducing it decisively in public policy and its processes.

The aim of this panel is to explore how the synergies between technology, politics and social cohesion can be positive factors for the sustainability and development of society.

The panel welcomes the participation of experts and professionals in the field of digital governance, to discuss the future of digital governance and new perspectives and challenges with regard to person-centred digital governance.

Subtopics Panel 5:

  • Major trends in digital governance for the coming years.
  • ¿Threat or opportunity for governance?
  • Digital and technological revolution challenges for digital governance.
  • Artificial intelligence in digital governance: Challenges and opportunities.
  • Security, privacy and ethics in digital governance. Inclusion and digital access. Technology to empower citizens.
  • The future of public service digitalization.
  • Digital transformation of public services and the administration.
  • Digital governance assessment methods.
Citizen participation is a learning process and one of personal and collective development. It aims to transform relationships, responses and actions, giving space and voice to everyone, so that they may exercise their responsibility and capacity to influence the generation of public value.

Citizen participation is an essential element of the democratic system that promotes the construction of an active society that will help drive every aspect of social, economic, cultural and political life. Such a society, through its involvement in public affairs, enriches Governmental actions and enhances their effectiveness.

Participation results in better decision-making, more committed and cohesive communities and better-quality democracy, one linked to the citizens’ capacity to engage in politics. This requires a cultural change both internally, encompassing procedures across all lines of work, and externally, moving toward a more participative culture.

The panel focuses on the analysis of citizen participation and the improvement of democracy and welcomes academic and professional experts to present their thoughts on the challenges citizen participation faces, as well as its positives and negatives.

Subtopics Panel 6:

  • The importance of citizen participation in policy-making.
  • Present and future of citizen participation.
  • The new culture of participation.
  • The role of education in the promotion of active citizenship.
  • Processes of citizen participation.
  • Participatory budgeting.
  • Challenges of citizen participation.
  • Social networks and the Internet: opportunities for and threats to citizen participation.
  • Participation and inclusion.
  • Theoretical and practical approaches to citizen participation.
  • Comparative studies of citizen participation models.
  • Citizen participation at the local level.
  • Child and youth participation experiences to nurture a democratic culture.
  • Citizen participation assessment mechanisms.

Other conference themes:

  • Cultural studies.
  • History, geography, human beings and the environment.
  • Development and transformation of social structures.
  • Ideals and practices of civil society.
  • Power, authority and governance.
  • Global connections and exchanges.
  • Creation, expansion and interaction of economic systems.
  • Science, technology and innovation.

Scientific Coordination

Sinnergiak Social Innovation (UPV-EHU)

Center for Social Innovation promoted by the University of the Basque Country / Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea (UPV / EHU) within the framework of the EUSKAMPUS strategy – Campus of International Excellence. Founded in 2012, Sinnergiak Social Innovation Center (UPV / EHU) is conceived as a knowledge organization structured around an interdisciplinary team led by university researchers and also integrated by other professionals specialized in training practice and intervention and transfer activities. The activity of Sinnergiak aims to promote the development of skills in people and innovation capacities in organizations and communities, basic conditions for obtaining results with a socially visible and useful impact.

Scientific Directors

Alfonso Unceta – Universidad del País Vasco (Spain)

Alfonso Unceta (San Sebastián, 1957) is Professor of Sociology at the UPV-EHU. As a result of his research activity, he has participated in more than eighty national and international research projects and contracts. He has published around a hundred scientific contributions and belonged to different Research committees and boards (UPV-EHU, Ikerbasque Foundation, Euskoiker Foundation, European School of Social Innovation, etc.). He is Director of Sinnergiak Social Innovation, UPV-EHU Center for Social Innovation and editor of the Journal European Public and Social Innovation Review. He has been Director of Universities and Deputy Minister of Education of the Basque Government. At the UPV-EHU he has directed the Master’s Degree “Management of Innovation and Knowledge”, the Department of Sociology 2 and has been Dean of the Faculty of CCCSS and Communication. His professional career is linked to three lines of action research: education, social innovation and governance.

Prof. Rafael Cabrera Collazo, PhD – Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico)

Rafael L. Cabrera Collazo has a PhD in History from the University of Puerto Rico. He serves as Associate Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs at the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico and holds the rank of Professor of History in this same institution. He has been a visiting professor at universities in Cuba, Mexico, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Colombia, where he has given seminars on semiotics and visual culture – these being his areas of expertise and research. He currently participates in several academic research networks related to studies into representations of mass media. He is a member of scientific editorial committees at universities in Spain, Colombia, Argentina a­­nd the Dominican Republic. These integrate national and international professional associations of historians and scholars of social sciences and visual culture – one being the Puerto Rican Association of Historians (of which he was a founding partner and President between 2001 and 2004) and the other, the International Society of Visual Culture, based in Madrid (where he is currently the Scientific Director on its executive committee). He has written one book himself, entitled The drawings of progress: the caricature of Filardi and the criticism of Munocist developmentalism, 1950-1960, and has co-authored three others. He has collaborated with others published in specialised journals and articles in arbitrated books in Mexico and Spain concerning the cultural history of cinema, and the sociability and manipulation of mass media.

Conference Scientific Committee

Keynote Speakers

Patricia Pol

Simón Peña Universidad del País Vasco (Spain)

La participación mediatizada y los límites de las experiencias ciudadanas en los medios de comunicación

Simón Peña Fernández is a professor in the Department of Journalism at the University of the Basque Country (UPV / EHU), where he has been Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Communication since 2013.

His research work focuses on the analysis of new narratives and actors in cybermedia, citizen participation on the Internet and social innovation.

At present, he is the principal investigator, together with Dr. Ainara Larrondo, of the consolidated research group of the Basque Government Gureiker (IT-1112).

Xabier Barandiaran

Xabier Barandiaran Irastorza Universidad de Deusto (Spain)

Gobernanza: nuevas formas de experimentalismo democrático

Xabier Barandiaran Irastorza (Ataun 1969) has a doctorate in Sociology (2001) from the University of Deusto and a Bachelor of Political Science and Sociology (1994) from the University of Deusto. He is a professor at the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences of the University of Deusto where he teaches subjects in the Degree in Social Work and Social Education and the Degree in Communication. He has numerous publications (books, book chapters, and articles in international magazines). In recent years he has been working and researching on issues of political culture, values, social capital, and collaborative governance. He belongs to the Communication research team and gives workshops and conferences at various universities, research centers, and public institutions.