14.6.2022 Mateusz Klinowski. Jagiellonian University, Krakow. „Is Air Pollution a Wicked Problem? Lessons from Poland.“

The Bremen NatureCultures Lab and the Department of Anthropology and Cultural Research at the University of Bremen are pleased to welcome Mateusz Klinowski from Jagiellonian University Krakow as guest scholar in the second half of June, 2022. He will start his two-week guest stay with a lecture – a joint event of the Bremen NatureCultures Lab and the IfEK’s Institute Colloquium.

14 June 2022 | Tuesday evening: 18:15-19:45
Mateusz Klinowski | “Is Air Pollution a Wicked Problem? Lessons from Poland”

Hybrid Event: Rotunde (Cartesium) or Online (zoom)
Location Address: Cartesium, Enrique-Schmidt-Str. 5, U Bremen
For online attendance via zoom: Please email xiaoling_at_uni-bremen_dot_de by June 14, 2022, to register.

Abstract: Air pollution and other environmental and climate protection issues are often described as wicked problems – the problems particularly difficult to solve. The category of wicked problems has been developed in the social sciences since the ’70s. The anti-smog resolutions passed in the province of Lesser Poland in 2016 and 2017 introduced two different regulatory regimes in the city of Krakow and the rest of the province, respectively, corresponding to two different philosophies for solving societal problems – enforcement vs economic incentives. I saw it as a rare opportunity to directly measure the effectiveness of adopted anti-smog laws, and thus to estimate the effectiveness of the two different competing regulatory regimes mentioned above. The dynamics characteristic for wicked problems is observed, but this is due to the phenomenon I proposed to call the institutional inertia. After all, some wicked problems may be easy to solve, but there is no one really interested in doing so in the first place.


Mateusz Klinowski is adjunct professor at the Faculty of Law and Administration, Jagiellonian University in Krakow (Poland) and member of the Rector’s Climate Council. He studied philosophy and law at the Jagiellonian University, where in 2007, he also received a doctoral degree specializing in the theory of law. He was visiting professor at the San Juan Law School in Puerto Rico and visiting fellow at Alicante University and at the School of Philosophy of Law and Social Sciences in Göttingen. His academic interests include philosophical logic, logic of action, methodology of science, ethics, including bioethics, and political theory. Besides being an academic, he is a political activist – among others in the field of air pollution, was elected mayor of Wadowice (2014-2018) and is co-founder and member of Energia Miastm, a NGO of Polish local politicians and activists promoting progessive policies.