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Ecology and Ideology in the General Systems Community

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This paper gives an account of the participatory, democratic and pluralistic perspectives of Boulding and other important figures in the General Systems Community (GSC). It contrasts their perspectives with the technocratic approach of H.T. Odum, as analysed in particular by Peter Taylor. It argues that GSC's concern with systems in relation to their environment is more complex than simply mediated energy, information or currency flows crossing the boundaries of Odum's systems. This ensures there is no privileged place for an outside observer/manipulator of the GSC system; in fact, the analyst is often part of the GSC system. Moreover, the interactions within GSC systems are not reduced to a simple metric, such as Odum's energy currency.
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Keywords: General Systems Community; Howard Odum; Kenneth Boulding; energy flows; systems theory

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 1997

More about this publication?
  • Environment and History is an interdisciplinary journal which aims to bring scholars in the humanities and biological sciences closer together, with the deliberate intention of constructing long and well-founded perspectives on present day environmental problems.

    Environment and History has a Journal Impact Factor (2019) of 0.698. 5 Year Impact Factor: 0.806.
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