Self-organisation is an idea whose time has come. As an explanatory concept, self-organisation is central to complexity theory, which is quickly becoming a powerful and perhaps even dominant paradigm in both the natural and social sciences. As a political ideal, self-organisation is filling the void that is opening up as both the state and market are increasingly perceived as undemocratic, unjust and inefficient. Drawing on observations from the Dutch city of Rotterdam, this paper argues that self-organisation indeed is an inspiring ideal but that it is often misunderstood and may produce adverse consequences when used as a policy guide. While self-organisation is too inspiring to abandon, its harsh realities need to be accounted for if we want to think and work with it.

community, complexity theory, government, Internet, self-organisation,
Urban Studies: an international journal for research in urban studies
Erasmus University Rotterdam

Uitermark, J.L. (2015). Longing for Wikitopia: The study and politics of self-organisation. Urban Studies: an international journal for research in urban studies, 52(13), 2301–2312. doi:10.1177/0042098015577334