From Academic Kids

The word panarchy was invented and the concept proposed by the French political scientist, Paul Emile de Puydt in 1860. He proposed panarchy as a solution to wasteful revolutions (see also Panarchism).

The word panarchy fell out of use in the field of political science, but was resurrected with an updated meaning by international relations scholars like Mark Salter and Paul B Hartzog.

The website states that "Panarchy is complexity and networked governance in the information age, including economics, sociology, culture, political science, commons, etc."

The modern usage of panarchy is best summed up by a quote from James Rosenau:

"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).

What is Panarchy?

According to its supporters, panarchy is the pattern of relationships that characterizes and define the next era in human civilization. The totality of these relations - political, economic, social - is meant to constitute global governance in the network age.

Mark Salter offers this definition: "Panarchy means an inclusive, universal system of governance in which all may participate meaningfully" (Sewell and Salter, 1995).

Why "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-resurrectors 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, 1995).

"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, saying:

"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."


"[We needed to] invent another term that captures the adaptive and evolutionary nature of adaptive cycles that are nested 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 interplay between change and persistence, between the predictable and unpredictable."


"A panarchy is a cross-scale, nested set of adaptive cycles."

And finally, in their work on "netwar," David Ronfeldt and John Arquilla state that:

"The design is a heterarchy, but also what might be termed a panarchy.

External links

  • ( -- Original usage
  • ( -- Modern usage, Writings and Discussion

Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools