largely maintained its legitimacy as an objective and competent institution while public and private bodies have been battered of late.

By convening and facilitating dialogue on key issues, universities can forward the action, far beyond the normal path of publishing papers. Individual faculty members have long taken stands on issues. I speak of a different process in which the whole institution acts as a neutral party. Its role is not to lake a stand on the issues out of some interest beyond its legitimate bounds, but to point out the state of knowledge of the complicated world and to compare the many options always available to decision makers. We, at MIT, have had some success in this kind of endeavor (Ehrenfeld et al., 1989) and are planning to continue our attempts at helping parties now at odds to come to agreement, even if very slowly. This may well offer a model for future emulation.



One modem notion of limits grew out of a study using systems dynamics to model global processes and was reported by D.H. Meadows and coauthors (1972) in The Limits to Growth. Some 20 years later, the same project team (Meadows et al., 1992) reiterated their thesis in Beyond the' Limits. The opposite viewpoint has been most vociferously argued by Simon and Kahn (1984) in The Resourceful Earth: A Response to Global 2000.


Peter Senge (1990) in his recent book on organizational learning, The Fifth Discipline, has observed that failures to perceive the systems context lead to a problem-solving mode that first must find someone or some organization to blame. This interesting observation may help explain the extreme degree of adversariness that surrounds environmental decision making in the United States. The well-developed technical, rational framework and clear disciplinary bounds that characterize administrative and managerial processes in most of the highly industrialized nations has contributed to the blinders that constrain public and private strategic activities.


See Ehrenfeld (1990). This paper refers to the sociology of technology, and in particular to a quote from Thomas P. Hughes (1988). Hughes, notes that: Callon asks why we categorize, or compartmentalize, the elements in a system or network "when these elements are permanently interacting, being associated with, and being tested by the actors who innovate?" Faced by the rigid-categories problem—science, technology, economics, politics, etc.—Callon resorts to neologising and uses higher abstractions (actors) that subsume science, technology and other categories. Actors are the heterogeneous entities that constitute a network. Disciplines do not bound actors. The historian or sociologist using the expression need not introduce connotative terms such as the political, social, or economic.

As a case study, Callon employs the post-World War II effort of the French state to promote an electric vehicle. His actors include electrons, catalysts, accumulators, users, researchers, manufacturers, and ministerial departments defining and enforcing regulations affecting technology. These and many other actors interact through networks to create a coherent actor world. Callon does not, therefore, distinguish between the animate and inanimate, the individuals and the organizations. He sees no outside (social)—inside (technology) dichotomy.

The passage quoted above refers to two papers (Callon, 1980; Callon and Law, 1982).


See Lindblom (1988, pp. 237-259, for example. Achieving impossible feats of synopsis is a bootless, unproductive ideal. Aspiring to improving policy analysis through the use of strategies is a directing or guiding aspiration. it points to something to be done, something to be studied and learned, and something that can be successfully approximated.

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