Our communities are awash with wicked problems. Almost all issues facing our communities can be understood through a wicked-problem lens that focuses on the competing underlying values that make simple solutions impossible. These competing values create tensions, paradoxes, and tough choices that cannot be resolved, although they can certainly be managed better (or worse). Whether community is interpreted as applying to the global, national, regional, local, or campus level, it is clear that we are struggling with how to respond effectively to myriad issues.

The deliberative mind-set focuses precisely on the hard work of address- ing wicked problems, particularly the need to engage the natural tensions, trade-offs, tough choices, dilemmas, and paradoxes embedded within issues. Taking a wicked-problem perspective essentially shifts the focus away from the adversarial emphasis on wicked people (i.e., people with bad values who are often seen as the primary cause of problems) and the expert “quest for certainty,m”  and toward the ongoing collaborative management of the wicked problem.

Carcasson, M. (2017). Deliberative Pedagogy as Critical Connective: Building Democratic Mind-Sets and Skill Sets for Addressing Wicked Problems. In SHAFFER, T. J., LONGO, N. V., MANOSEVITCH, I., & THOMAS, M. S. (Eds.), Deliberative Pedagogy: Teaching and Learning for Democratic Engagement. Michigan State University Press.

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