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Reformulating ‘Holism’ in hydropower decision‐making.

Kang, K., 2020. Reformulating ‘Holism’ in hydropower decision‐making. Systems Research and Behavioral Science, 37 (2), 360-368.

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Kenneth Kang, Reformulating Holism in Hydropower Decision Making, 2019.pdf - Accepted Version
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DOI: 10.1002/sres.2635


This paper investigates the necessary‐impossible paradox facing hydropower decision‐makers of the Mekong River Commission: that aspiring towards a holistic risk assessment is both socially useful and necessary, but also meaningless and impossible (because the future remains unknown). The thesis here is that to come to terms with this paradox, a Luhmannian inspired relational model offers superior analytical tools compared with an Aristotelian essentialist approach. This is because where the latter typically employs integrative approaches which attempt to show why through rational reasoning risk assessments are holistic, the former takes into account that holistic risk assessments are contingent on the observer, on an organisation's position within a network, and on the ‘temporal atoms’ that mark the ‘time’ of social systems. By employing a relational framework comprised of variation, selection and retention to capture this comparative sociology of the observer, the contribution here offers a radical reformulation of holism in hydropower decision‐making.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:downstream response to imposed to flow transition, holism, hydropower decision‐making, impact risk assessments, Mekong River commission, paradoxes, social systems, temporality
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:33122
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:09 Dec 2019 09:28
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:18


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