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(sup) (en) panarchy http://www.panarchy.com/
Peter Demma <email@example.com>
Sun, 6 Jul 2003 20:09:53 +0200 (CEST)
A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
A new form of anarchy has evolved in the current period -- one that involves
not only the absence of a highest authority but that also encompasses such an
extensive disaggregation of authority as to allow for much greater
flexibility, innovation, and experimentation (Rosenau, 1995).
Panarchy, and by extension this website, is not a normative model; it is a
descriptive one. Panarchy is not a utopian vision, or an attempt to describe a
rational or just world order. Panarchy may not be good or bad, but it is
coherent and consistent. Like the Industrial Era, Panarchy demonstrates
certain ways of perceiving and interacting with the world throughout its
breadth and depth. Panarchy emerges from the analysis of broad patterns of
change in the world, which leads to an understanding the dynamics of systems
and holarchies. By applying those understandings across all strata of society,
we arrive at a description of where civilization is heading -- thus,
What is Panarchy?
Panarchy is the pattern of relations that characterizes and defines the next
era in human civilization. The totality of these relations -- political,
economic, social-- is what constitutes global governance in the next
cycle of civilization.
Mark Salter offers this definition: "Panarchy means an inclusive, universal
system of governance in which all may participate meaningfully" (Sewell and
So how does Panarchy work? The underlying principles of Panarchy manifest
themselves as features of Panarchy.
"Panarchy" is a play on words that includes many of the concepts
inherent in Panarchy.
"pan-" means all, whole, global. Panarchy in this sense is the truly global
emergence of the system of relations that characterizes Panarchy.
"Pan" was a Greek nature deity. Mark Salter, one of the co-creaters of the
word, remarks "the pan within panarchy evokes the playful Greek god Pan of
sylvan and pastoral tranquillity, overseer of forests, shepherd of shepherds
and their flocks. It thus connotes an archetypal steward of biospheric well-
being....capable of sustaining generations yet unborn" (Sewell and Salter,
"PAN" is also an acronym for Personal Area Network. A personal area network is
the interconnection of information technology devices within the range of an
individual person, usually by wireless. PAN's make possible a truly
decentralized and global citizenry.
Gunderson and Holling, in their book Panarchy: Understanding Transformations
in Systems of Humans and Nature also coincidentally coined the term,
The term [panarchy] was coined as an antithesis to the word hierarchy
(literally, sacred rules). Our view is that panarchy is a framework of
nature's rules, hinted at by the name of the Greek god of nature, Pan.
and [We needed to] invent another term that captures the adaptive and evolutionary
nature of adaptive cycles that are nexted one within the other across space
and time scales.
For Gunderson and Holling,
The cross-scale, interdisciplinary, and dynamic nature of the theory has
led us to coin the term panarchy for it. Its essential focus is to rationalize the
interpplay between change and persistence, between the predictable and
Thus A panarchy is a cross-scale, nested set of adaptive cycles.
"Anarchy" is not persistent chaos. It is the absence of persistent
In natural anarchies, order emerges from within, instead of being imposed from
without, thus creating holarchy. Instead of anarchy being an obstacle to
the creation of order, as is generally assumed, anarchy is in fact a
prerequisite for healthy forms of order. Panarchy is a holarchy, but it relies on
anarchy as a foundation so that the order which emerges is autopoietic and not
*/ "We are the ones we've been waiting for."
/*/--attributed to an unnamed Hopi elder/
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